Cust cut loose by A’s

Jack Cust became a free agent Saturday when the Oakland

Athletics failed to offer him a 2010 contract.

Cust hit .240 with 25 homers and 70 RBIs last season but struck

out 195 times, becoming the first player to lead in the AL in three

straight seasons since Minnesota’s Bobby Darwin from 1972-74. Cust

whiffed 164 times in 2007 and 197 times in 2008.

He had 26 homers in 2007 and 33 the following year, and has

topped Oakland for three consecutive seasons in homers, strikeouts

and walks (93 last season).

Cust made $2.8 million last season and had been eligible for

salary arbitration.

Oakland has three players remaining eligible for salary

arbitration: right-hander Michael Wuertz and outfielders Rajai

Davis and Scott Hairston.

General manager Billy Beane has been determined to add more

power to the lineup. The A’s last week acquired third baseman Jake

Fox from the Chicago Cubs largely because they like Fox’s bat.