By John Hickey
Sunday, March 24th, 2013 at 11:17 am in 2013 spring training.
The initial impression brought on by Nate Freiman’s first morning in the A’s camp is that the Warriors missed out on a good bet.
This guy has a power forward’s body.
It’s yet to be proven if he’s the right-handed power hitter the A’s need as an option to the left-handed Brandon Moss at first base, but spring is all about optimism, right?
Freiman, who makes his off-season home about 15 minutes from Phoenix Municipal Stadium with his wife, Amanda, arrived in Phoenix late Saturday night, was in the A’s clubhouse early Sunday morning where the first point of business was a meeting with the manager, Bob Melvin.
The 6-foot-4 Melvin doesn’t have to look up at many people in baseball, but the 6-foot-8, 250-pound Freiman is the exception. He’s a full head taller.
And he’s motivated. Freiman has a week’s worth of games to prove that he’s the right man off the bench for Oakland. As a Rule 5 player, the A’s have to either keep him on the roster all year or offer him back to his original team, the Padres.
“It was easy to get up and get here this morning,’’ Freiman said. “I didn’t get much sleep. And I learned a long time ago the first thing you do is go meet the manager.’’
Freiman’s second stop was the batting cage behind the right field wall at Phoenix Muni. He spent about 45 minutes there, meeting some of his new teammates and taking his turn in the batting cages with coaches Chili Davis and Ariel Prieto flipping the ball underhand.
It’s been a busy three months for Freiman, who was on a trip to Taiwan with then-fiancé Amanda when he learned that the Astros had selected him in the Rule 5 draft from the Padres. Then Nate and Amanda got married, then they moved to Florida for spring training with the Astros. And then came Saturday, when things did a quantum shift all over again.
“It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity they have given me here,’’ Freiman said. “I want to make the most of it.’’
That starts today.
And while there’s no saying if Freiman, who was in Double-A with San Antonio (.294, 24 homers) last year, will do well enough to make the roster, it seems clear that the A’s are about ready to part ways with Daric Barton, who has lost his job as a regular to Moss.
A decision on Barton’s fate could come in the next day or two.