In my opinion, much of spring training is an exercise in boredom, especially when you hit a camp like the A’s, where much of the roster already has taken shape. I mean, veteran players know how to get ready, and they do so at their own pace. Pitchers don’t pitch the same way they do during the regular season. And the high skies and hard infields make defense awfully difficult to play.
That said, there are moments worth remembering. Mostly, these involve players you may never hear from again. Perhaps it’s a moment in the sun for an aging veteran whose seen the majority of his time in the minors. Other times, a young, faceless guy you’ve never heard of dazzles.
Saturday was just such a day for right-handed pitcher Mike Mitchell, a 25-year-old non-roster invitee to the A’s camp. MItchell, who saw time at all three levels of the A’s organization last year _ posting 18 saves and a 3.22 ERA in the process _ pitched two scoreless, hitless innings to close out a 5-5 tie against the Chicago Cubs. He showed mighty good stuff too, enough to make an impressoin on manger Bob Geren.
“He had a good live fastball,” Geren said. “Good sink, too. Impressive.”
Hearing such praise, of course, is pretty much the name of the game during the spring for those in Mitchell’s position. It doesn’t matter if fans don’t remember you. It only matters that the manager does.
In this case, the fans will probably remember, too. I know I will.