New dad Jesse Chavez has been satisfied with his body of work this spring as he bids to return to A’s rotation.
Almost everything has changed for A’s pitcher Jesse Chavez in the last couple of days.
On Tuesday, his wife, Crystal, gave birth to their daughter, Dannie Rae.
“It’s been kind of a whirlwind; it’s just a different feeling,’’ Chavez said. “Someone has come into the world and she’s yours. You want to be the best you can for her.’’
Chavez could be forgiven if he wasn’t quite on top of his game, a 6-4 A’s win. He didn’t make it out of the fourth inning, giving up four runs, just two of them earned, on seven hits and two walks.
He has a 4.50 ERA this spring, and while the numbers could be better, he’s content that he’s made his case for landing a job in the starting rotation. He’ll have one more start before the season begins.
First baseman Ike Davis figures to settle in as the No. 5 man in the A’s batting order.
Ask Bob Melvin, and the A’s manager will tell you that he hasn’t announced the makeup of the middle part of his lineup.
He hasn’t, not in so many words. But Ben Zobrist has made 14 starts, including Thursday against the Giants, and he’s been the No. 3 hitter 14 times.
Billy Butler has made 15 starts, and 15 times he’s been the cleanup hitter.
Ike Davis missed some time thanks to a back injury so has only made nine starts, but six of them have seen him bat fifth. He has batted fourth when he’s played and Butler hasn’t.
In the four games in which they’ve all been in the lineup at the same time, Zobrist has batted third, Butler fourth and Davis fifth four times. Melvin may not be speaking with his voice but he’s shouting with the pen that writes out his lineups.
Billy Beane introduced Billy Bean to the A’s Thursday afternoon, and Major League Baseball’s first-ever Ambassador of Inclusion said the players might not have known who he was or what he was going to speak about.
Bean and A’s general manager Beane have known each other for years and played in the same Triple-A Toledo outfield in 1988 where, together with a former top draft pick Pete Rice they made what Bean proudly refers to as baseball’s “Rice and Beans Outfield.’’
Bean, who came out as gay in 1990 after he’d retired from baseball, is the point man on MLB’s outreach to the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) community. This is his first spring training on the job, and he’s going to visit teams in both Arizona and Florida.
Evan Scribner is finding there’s a certain freedom in being able to focus not on the where of baseball but on the how.
Scribner is out of options, meaning the right-handed reliever either makes the A’s bullpen or the A’s have to put him on waivers with the likely possibility that another club would pick him up. That’s the where.
The how is simple.
Ike Davis added an RBI single and two-run homer to his output Wednesday.
Ike Davis is hitting .520 after having an RBI single and a two-run homer Wednesday but he says he knows one thing about his future.
“I won’t hit .700 this year,’’ Davis said after concluding his portion of the A’s 9-9 tie with Milwaukee. “Write it down.’’
It’s a good bet the left-handed hitting A’s first baseman won’t have to swallow those words. He’s going great guns right now, including a homer off the batter’s eye in Maryvale Park that accounted for two of his three RBIs. But nobody goes that great.
Davis came to the A’s in a deal with the Pirates this off-season with the reputation as being an above-average defender at first base with the tendency to pull the ball and hit for some power. Opposing teams know that and like to load up the right side of the infield with three defenders.
Sean Doolittle will start the season on the disabled list, and with Ryan Cook sent to Triple-A, A’s bullpen will have a different look to start 2015.
The A’s came into the spring with a surplus of bullpen arms, but February and March have whittled down at the A’s excess, although not to the point where manager Bob Melvin is particularly worried.
First the A’s learned that shoulder problems would mean that Sean Doolittle, their lefty closer, wouldn’t be able to start the season with the club. Doolittle is getting closer to playing catch, but he’s unlikely to be ready to be competitive before May.
And on Tuesday, 2012 All-Star Ryan Cook was sent to Triple-A Nashville’s roster, meaning he won’t be eligible to be in the big leagues, barring injury to someone else, for the first 10 days of the season.
Barry Zito is continuing to create a strong market for his services with 11 consecutive scoreless innings.
Barry Zito has shown remarkable focus this spring, and we’re not just talking about the 11 consecutive scoreless innings he’s racked up his last three appearances.
While all anyone else wants to talk about with Zito is which club he’ll eventually wind up starting for, Zito continues to put on an A’s uniform and throw one impressive inning after another without looking too far toward the future.
He says he’s not even focused on the scoreless innings streak except as to how hitters have reacted to his pitches during that stretch.
Coco Crisp sore right elbow led to him being scratched against the Cubs Tuesday.
At the top of the A’s list of goals for spring training was keeping Coco Crisp healthy, so much so that the club moved him from center field to left before Cactus League play began.
The plan has not gone as well as it might, Crisp being scratched from the A’s starting lineup Tuesday against the Cubs.
Crisp was limited to 126 games by neck injuries last year, the first striking in May and the re-injury coming in August.
Ryan Cook says he’s trying to get his fingers more on top of the ball to drive it lower in the strike zone.
It’s good to be a veteran, as the A’s Ryan Cook attested Tuesday.
On Monday he gave up three runs in two innings as his bloated spring ERA settled in at 16.88.
The 2012 All-Star took a matter-of-fact look at the situation.
“If I wasn’t a veteran,’’ he said, “I might not be here right now.’’
Instead of being shipped down to the minor league camp, which would be the fate of a rookie, he’s getting time to work out his issues, spending time with pitching coach Curt Young. He’s healthy and he’s feeling stronger than he has in a couple of years, and he has the advantage of not making himself crazy about his mid-spring struggles.
Chris Bassitt is trying to get his pitches inside to left-handed hitters.
The lessons Cactus League hitters are administering to Chris Bassitt aren’t being lost on the A’s right-hander.
Bassitt was knocked around for five runs in 4.1 innings Monday in an 8-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians, leaving his ERA for the spring at a staggering 8.76.
Each time out, the story is the same. He does just fine against right-handed hitters, but lefties keep crushing his fastball.
“I have to be able to throw inside to left-handed hitters,’’ he said. “I’ve always been able to get away with it in the minor leagues. But up here, they hit that. I’ve been working at that my whole life, honestly. At this level you can’t beat anyone if you can’t.