Manny Ramirez hit his first homer with the A’s in his first at-bat Tuesday, a towering shot to left-center off Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Mike Fiers. That also marked Ramirez’s first hit of the spring, as he came in 0 for 8. He started at DH after spending the previous two days getting at-bats at the A’s minor league camp. Ramirez will miss the first 50 regular season games on suspension, and manager Bob Melvin has indicated he wants to start distributing more at-bats to D.H. candidates who will be on the roster once the season starts.
That homer kickstarted what otherwise has been a slow news day at A’s camp. …
The team is likely to carry a seven-man bullpen, but who makes up that relief corps is still tough to tell. Melvin said some surprise names have impressed him during camp, and he’s in no rush to make a call on his seven relievers. Travis Schlichting and lefty Erick Threets, who is from Livermore, are two non-roster relievers who have caught his attention. Pedro Figueroa and Jordan Norberto, both left-handers, have also looked good.
“Certainly there are some guys that are stepping up, and probably several we didn’t expect at this point,” Melvin said. “One thing we have is time. We definitely have time. I’m not going to rush it.”
Grant Balfour, Joey Devine, Fautino De Los Santos and Brian Fuentes appear locked into four of the seven spots, with Jerry Blevins also a strong possibility. Either Balfour or Fuentes will serve as closer.