A’s manager Bob Melvin said spring camp is beginning to feel like Groundhog Day, so the Cactus League schedule is probably arriving just in time. The A’s play their exhibition opener Friday against the Seattle Mariners in Phoenix, and Melvin said he expects to play what’s close to an Opening Day lineup. Put an asterisk next to that, as the A’s still don’t know who their first baseman or DH will be, or how their outfield will shake out. Point is, Melvin wants to see his regulars in a game environment. That means most starters probably won’t be playing in Thursday’s intrasquad game, which begins around noon (AZ time) at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Catchers Landon Powell and Anthony Recker, and infielders Eric Sogard and Adam Rosales are among those who will see action in the intrasquad game, according to Melvin. I’m interested to see a few guys pitch Thursday, including 2011 first-round pick Sonny Gray, first baseman-turned-pitcher Sean Doolittle and bullpen candidate Ryan Cook.
–Dallas Braden is doing well in his comeback from shoulder surgery, but Melvin said he still needs to be cautious with the lefty. The timetable remains “anywhere from late April to May 1,” in Melvin’s words.