Novel idea helps A’s double up on their batting practice

A's double batting cagesThe A’s were all over bench coach Chip Hale Friday in the second day of workouts at Phoenix’s Papago Park.

In a good way.

It was Hale, who runs the nuts and bolts of the A’s spring training camp,  who decided to use side-by-side batting cages on one of the back fields at Papago Park, then to set up a left-handed breaking ball machine on one and a right-handed machine on the other.

Players were able to get through twice as fast, if that was their desire, or to get twice as many swings.

Field baseman Nate Freiman was in the twice-as-much category.

    “It’s a great way to work,’’ Freiman said. “There isn’t much standing around. And you get twice as many swings, which is always good.’’

Outfielder Shane Peterson was quickly won over.

“I wasn’t sure how it would work when they were explaining it in the morning meeting,’’ Peterson said. “But now that I see how it goes, I really like it.’’

Manager Bob Melvin likes it too, and said the club will evaluate whether or not to do it again.

He gave all the credit to Hale, and said everyone like the idea that hitters would see breaking pitches sooner than they would have otherwise.

John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.