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Moss draws praise for dropping down a bunt vs.shift; Rodriguez looks good to go, but A’s won’t do it yet

The A’s wrapped up Saturday’s workouts with the pitchers heading back to Phoenix Muni and the hitters staying around for some competitive batting practice at Papago Park.

The idea was to have the hitters bat against the shift, so the teams were split on left-handed and right-handed lines.

And during one of his at-bats, Brandon Moss dropped down a nice bunt for a hit.

   “It’s something he hasn’t been comfortable doing in a game – let’s face it, most homer producers aren’t, either – but it’s something the A’s would like him to have in his toolbox come the 2014 season.

Manager Bob Melvin said just the threat of Moss being able to drop down a bunt will force defenses to play him with more respect, and that could translate into more hits come the regular season.

 

–Right-handed pitcher Fernando Rodriguez had Tommy John surgery to replace ligaments in his right elbow last year and spent the season in Oakland workout out.

But not just working out. He stuck around for virtually all of the A’s home games, watching and analyzing the games and asking questions.

So now that Rodriguez is healthy enough to throw as he works his way back to full strength, he’s a different pitcher, Melvin said.

“He looks different to me; his time off was a year well spent,’’ Melvin said. “We talked to him about being too slow to the plate, about tightening up his mechanics and throwing downhill more.’’

And in the early going of spring training, Rodriguez is done all of those things.’

“Last year he didn’t just do his rehab and go home,’’ Melvin said. “He stayed and watched, and it shows.’’

So much so that Melvin has to remember that Rodriguez still hasn’t faced a batter since last spring.

“It looks to me like he could pitch right now,’’ the manager said. “but we’re going to be careful with him.’’

John Hickey

Returning to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.