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Vogt anxiously waiting for his elbow to be right

Stephen Vogt was happy with the way Kendall Graveman threw Tuesday but is still waiting for his own throwing arm to fully come around.

Stephen Vogt was happy with the way Kendall Graveman threw Tuesday but is still waiting for his own throwing arm to fully come around.

Stephen Vogt has been given the chance to bring his surgically repaired elbow on at its own pace.

He’d just like to pick up the pace some.

“My arm has me a little frustrated,” the veteran catcher said. “Everybody says its fine, but it’s not where I want it to be. It’s me being picky.”

Vogt is mostly getting behind the plate every other day, but he did have back-to-back starts last week and “my arm felt better in the second game than it has all year. Basically I think I’m real close. It could click any time.”

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Top prospect Barreto has visions of challenging Cabrera

If you see Franklin Barreto and think “Miguel Cabrera,’’ Barreto will be well pleased.

That’s the look the A’s shortstop-of-the-future is going for.

With reliever Fernando Rodriguez acting as translator, Barreto opened up for the first time in his first big league camp. And when asked what player he followed growing up in Venezuela, the 20-year-old didn’t hesitate.

“Miguel Cabrera is the guy I always kept an eye on, the way he is, the kind of player he is,’’ Barreto said.

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Alonso completes long trip from Cuba to Oakland

Cuban-born Yonder Alonso will get his first start at first base for A's Thursday in Cactus League opener against Angels in Tempe, Ariz.

Cuban-born Yonder Alonso will get his first start at first base for A’s Thursday in Cactus League opener against Angels in Tempe, Ariz.

Yonder Alonso was 10 when he and his younger sister, Yainee, were uprooted from their home in Cuba and brought with their parents to live in the United States.

Their father, Luis, had been a catcher for Havana’s Industriales of Serie Nacional, then coached after an arm injury curtailed his time as a player. He and his wife, Damarys, made the difficult decision to leave the past behind and head for Florida and new opportunities.

“We were leaving everything behind,’’ Alonso said Wednesday in the A’s spring training camp, of what was a scary time.

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A’s turn to backup backstops with Vogt, Phegley ailing; Anderson, McBride join Chapman in going deep in sim game

Stephen Vogt and Josh Phegley are out of Cactus League opener for A's

Stephen Vogt and Josh Phegley are out of Cactus League opener for A’s

The A’s will be short of catchers for the first part of spring training with Josh Phegley joining Stephen Vogt in being counted out of Thursday’s opener against the Angels at a minimum.

No problem; minor league catchers Bryan Anderson and Matt McBride hit solo homers in a 6½-inning simulated game Tuesday. They will be part of the mix getting playing time with the Cactus League starting Thursday, joining Carson Blair and Bruce Maxwell.

“Maxwell and Blair will be the (main) guys with Vogt and Phegley down for a bit,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “Those are the two guys that would start for the split-squad (Friday). And this is a big opportunity for them, especially Maxwell. He hasn’t had an opportunity to play as much as he’s going to. It’s a big year for him.’’

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Beane likes the possibilities in A’s position player prospects

Matt Olson is part of one of the most promising classes of A's position players in more than a decade.

Matt Olson is part of one of the most promising classes of A’s position players in more than a decade.

After a long drive down from the Bay Area Saturday, Billy Beane dropped by the A’s workout Sunday at Fitch Park and looked every bit like someone who liked what he was seeing.

Asked about the group of young position player prospects who may well be on the cusp of breaking through in Oakland – third baseman Matt Olson, shortstop Franklin Barreto, first baseman Matt Chapman, first baseman Rangel Ravelo, second baseman Joey Wendel and third baseman/first baseman Renato Nunez – a broad smile ensued.

Manager Bob Melvin had talked Saturday about that group, saying it was the best he’d seen since he’d joined the organization mid-2011.

Beane, who is closing in on two decades at the help of the A’s, first as general manager and now as executive vice president, was able to pinpoint a comparable group.

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Another roster obstacle standing in Sogard’s path

Eric Sogard starts the spring as a bench player for A's; it's four straight years of that now, but he always finds a way to play.

Eric Sogard starts the spring as a bench player for A’s; it’s four straight years of that now, but he always finds a way to play.

Two years ago, Eric Sogard was the Face of Baseball.

Well, almost; he made it all the way to the finals of Major League Baseball’s “Face of Baseball’’ competition in 2014, only to lose to the Mets’ David Wright. Sogard, with his goatee and his black-rimmed glasses and his pride in having the hashtag #nerdpower designed for him, was a huge hit, and there are those of a conspiracy-minded bent who believe Sogard actually won.

Fast forward to this year and Sogard is just another face in the crowd, another guy on the A’s bench.

Or, as he puts it, “so what’s new?’’

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Addition of Chris Coghlan to the mix for A’s will serve to make 2016 roster, lineup decisions all the more difficult

Chris Coghlan will have a chance to play all over the field with Thursday trade to A's from the Cubs.

Chris Coghlan will have a chance to play all over the field with Thursday trade to A’s from the Cubs.

The final few opening day roster trims, if not the makeup of the A’s regular 2016 lineup, just got more difficult to forecast with Thursday’s acquisition of infielder/outfielder Chris Coghlan from the Cubs, Oakland sending starter Aaron Brooks to Chicago.

The A’s already had what seemed to be a full house in the outfield before getting Coghlan, who played 99 games in left field and 21 in right for the Cubs last year, contributing 25 doubles, 16 homers and 41 RBI in 440 at-bats with a slash line of .250/.341/.443 to a Chicago team that made it to the National League Championship Series.

The A’s have returning starters in Billy Burns in center and Josh Reddick in right and a new starter in left in Khris Davis. Add to that Mark Canha, coming off a strong rookie year and Coco Crisp, healthy after elbow, wrist and neck injuries a year ago, back to attempt to claim a starting job.

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Alvarez looks for solution to home run issue

Reliever R.J. Alvarez is looking for a cure for the home run cloud he lived under last year.

Reliever R.J. Alvarez is looking for a cure for the home run cloud he lived under last year.

It’s a fluke that R.J. Alvarez didn’t get neck strain last year, his first with the A’s. Watching all those homers can be rough on a guy.

In three seasons in the minor leagues, the reliever with the 97-mph fastball had allowed just four homers, none of them in 2014 after which the Padres dealt him to Oakland along with Jesse Hahn in exchange for catcher Derek Norris.

In just 20 innings spaced over the first six weeks and final four weeks of the season with a lengthy spell at Triple-A Nashville in between, Alvarez was scorched by seven homers. He allowed 23 runs overall, and 12 of those came thanks to the unexpected onslaught of homers. More than one-quarter of the hits he allowed left the park.

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10 questions facing the A’s heading into spring training topped by whether or not bullpen can be a winner again

Sean Doolittle is back as the closer with the A's having rebuilt their bullpen into what Oakland hopes will be a weapon.

Sean Doolittle is back as the closer with the A’s having rebuilt their bullpen into what Oakland hopes will be a weapon.

After stumbling through the 2015 season, the A’s are looking to find some solid ground when spring training starts this weekend in Mesa, Arizona.

 The A’s game was all over the place last year en route to 94 losses. A bad bullpen, an up-and-down offense, injury troubles and a clubhouse where the usual A’s fun vibe turned toxic had Oakland all over the place.
 With pitchers and catchers reporting Saturday and undergoing their first workout Sunday, the A’s are hoping all that’s behind them. Injuries have healed, the roster has been resculpted and some sense of optimism has been restored.

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Does Lambo have the stuff to be the new Brandon Moss?

Andrew Lambo doesn’t invite the comparison, but his arrival in Oakland has some striking parallels with that of Brandon Moss five years ago.

Both came aboard at low cost because of a miserable season the year before. Moss had just six big league at-bats in 2011 with the Phillies despite 23 homers and 80 RBI at Triple-A. He wouldn’t come up to the big leagues with Oakland until the middle of 2012, but once he did, he was in the middle of the A’s lineup, hitting 76 homers and driving in 220 runs in the next 2½ seasons.

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