The first blog from spring training has arrived … I’ll try to post each morning, but that could change slightly depending on how heavy/light news is. And if news develops throughout the day, I’ll throw it on here too. You can also get updates at twitter.com/joestiglich
–A’s pitchers and catchers just took the field for their first workout. The sun is out and it’s good baseball weather, though not as picturesque as yesterday. We may get a little rain over the weekend, but nothing that’s expected to disrupt things too much once the full squad holds its first workout Monday. But you didn’t come here for weather reports …
–Manager Bob Geren held his first extended media session today. The most noteworthy item was that relievers Andrew Bailey, Craig Breslow and Michael Wuertz will be brought along more slowly than the other relievers. That’s a precautionary move and probably a smart one – Breslow has thrown a ton of innings over the past two seasons, Bailey is coming off minor elbow surgery and Wuertz had a shoulder injury early last season after he logged a ton of innings in 2009. The A’s will budget most relievers for 10-13 Cactus League outings, but Bailey, Breslow and Wuertz (no, that’s not a law firm) will be closer to the 8-10 range.
–How’s this for showing gratitude? Dallas Braden sent catcher Landon Powell and his wife, Allyson, on an all-expenses paid trip to Maui in January to show his appreciation for Powell catching his perfect game. Braden put them up at the Four Seasons. I mentioned in today’s paper that Bailey and pitcher Brett Anderson have lost weight. Throw Powell in the mix, too. He says he’s lost 15 pounds.
–It was interesting seeing new bench coach Joel Skinner, a former catcher, huddled with all of Oakland’s catchers and dishing some wisdom earlier this morning. In the opening days of spring training, players take time to get acquainted with each other. But this spring, Oakland’s players are also feeling out several new coaches. Skinner and hitting coach Gerald Perry are new to the staff, and Ron Romanick has shifted from bullpen coach to pitching coach. Obviously, the big news will be whatever impact new players such as Hideki Matsui and Josh Willingham have on the team, but this reshuffled coaching staff is an under-the-radar factor to watch.
–One final note for those who might be visiting Phoenix next week: The A’s changed their practice schedule. They will only work out at Papago Park on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before shifting back to Phoenix Municipal Stadium for intrasquad games Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
That’s all for now …