I realize it’s a little late in the day, but here’s your first blog post of A’s spring training 2012. …
–Today was reporting day for pitchers and catchers, but I was surprised how many position players were on hand too. Jemile Weeks, Cliff PEnnington, Daric Barton, Michael Taylor, Michael Choice, to name a few. Granted, some were scheduled for physicals, but some were on the field getting some running in too. It’s the first spring under manager Bob Melvin, so in a way, it’s another chance to make a first impression. Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising to see players getting a head start on things.
–The A’s have a lot of work to cram in before they head to Tokyo on March 22 to open the regular season. They need to identify at least two starting pitchers (three if Dallas Braden misses his first turn), a closer, a designated hitter and a starting first baseman. Oh, they also need to figure out their outfield. For that reason, Melvin and his staff will be evaluating Cactus League stats/results a lot more than they normally would to make some decisions. “We’re going to have some guys that are integral parts of our team that we’re gonna have to evaluate here (during spring training),” Melvin said. Don’t expect a quick decision on a closer. Melvin said he’s in no rush to pick one, so keep an eye on how Grant Balfour, Fautino De Los Santos, Joey Devine and Brian Fuentes fare as exhibition play unfolds.
–Melvin wants spring workouts to be sharp, focused, and, if all goes well, on the brief side. He doesn’t see the need to keep players on the field for hours and hours if things are being done right. “I know from a player’s standpoint,” Melvin said, “the last thing you want to do is watch your staff be unorganized, and stand around and wait … We’re gonna use all the fields at Papago (Park Baseball Complex). We’ll try to get a lot of work in for a minimal amount of time.”
Today was a weird day with no official workout. You’ll be getting more posts earlier in the day from here on out, and hopefully some video footage too!