0

Melvin sends get-well wishes to `best manager in baseball’

Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin said he sent get well wishes to Giants manager Bruce Bochy Thursday night after hearing that Bochy had been admitted to a Scottsdale hospital after his physical exam revealed the need for an operation that inserted two stents into his heart.

“That’s scary, and he’s talking like it’s no big deal,’’ Melvin said. “He’s the best manager in the big leagues.

“I don’t know if that gets caught in the physicals they gave 10 years ago or when I was playing.’’

Melvin said Thursday that the only quirk he’d had during a physical was when as a player he was detected as having a heart murmur. It turned out to be something of an overly vigorous heart.

“It turned out my heart was too strong,’’ he said, shaking his head.

0

Clippard favored to close for A’s, but nothing is settled

Tyler Clippard remains likeliest candidate to start season as A's closer

Tyler Clippard remains likeliest candidate to start season as A’s closer

Tyler Clippard thought he’d dodged a bullet when he started talking contract with the Washington Nationals last month, so it came as a bit of a shock for him to learn he’d been traded to the A’s on Jan. 14

`I kind of thought I was out of the woods,’’ Clippard said after reporting to the A’s with the rest of the pitchers and catchers at the extensively remodeled Hohokam Stadium Thursday morning. “Our arbitration date was three days away and we were talking about contracts.’’

The surprise came in the form or Yunel Escobar. Oakland had picked up the shortstop along with Ben Zobrist four days earlier from Tampa Bay in a deal that sent John Jaso to the Rays.

Continue Reading

0

It’s time to tour the new Mesa facilities: the weight room

The countdown to the start of pitchers and catchers reporting to the A’s new spring training camp can be measured in hours now instead of days.

So we thought you might like to see what the new Hohokam Stadium looks like from the inside – from places you’d never likely see without signing a contract.

Along the way, there’s some audio narration, more proof that I should stick to the keyboard rather than the microphone. Bear with me on that.

Next up: The weight room

0

It’s time to tour the new Mesa facilities: Hokokam clubhouse

The countdown to the start of pitchers and catchers reporting to the A’s new spring training camp can be measured in hours now instead of days.

So we thought you might like to see what the new Hohokam Stadium looks like from the inside – from places you’d never likely see without signing a contract.

Along the way, there’s some audio narration, more proof that I should stick to the keyboard rather than the microphone. Bear with me on that.

Before we start, though, how about a few words from those who will be working there?

“It’s first class all the way,’’ catcher Stephen Vogt said. “They’ve done a great job there.’’

Equipment manager Steve Vucinich and his staff have spent weeks figuring out what goes where. It’s just about all in place, although workmen are still putting the finishing touches on the outside of the stadium.

“It’s a huge step up,’’ Vucinich said.

First: The clubhouse.

5

Pitching guru has great expectations for Zito’s return to A’s

Barry Zito's winter spent with pitching guru Ron Wolforth has resulted in an invitation to A's spring training camp.

Barry Zito’s winter spent with pitching guru Ron Wolforth has resulted in an invitation to A’s spring training camp.

Ron Wolforth won’t throw an inning in the big leagues this year, but he could have a huge impact on the A’s starting rotation.

It was Wolforth, something of a pitching guru working out of Houston, who resuscitated Scott Kazmir’s career a couple of years back. Kazmir, a 15-game winner and an All-Star last year, is the No. 2 man in the Oakland rotation behind Sonny Gray.

And Monday came the news that another Wolforth reclamation case, Barry Zito, has signed with the A’s. Zito will be on a minor league contract, but if the left-hander does as well as Wolforth seems to believe he will, the one-time Cy Young Award winner could easily fit into the A’s rotation.

Continue Reading

0

Parker loses in arbitration; Clippard only unsettled case

Jarrod Parker lost in salary arbitration Saturday and will earn $850,000 this season.

Jarrod Parker lost in salary arbitration Saturday and will earn $850,000 this season.

The A’s have just one salary arbitration case remaining in front of them after Oakland won its case with right-handed starter Jarrod Parker Saturday.

Tyler Clippard, acquired from the Washington Nationals in exchange for shortstop Yunel Escobar on Jan 14, is seeking $8.85 million while the A’s are offering $7.775 million.

Parker will earn $850,000 instead of his requested $1.7 million after having missed all of 2014 following a second Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in his right arm.

Parker, 26, is expected to be healthy enough to rejoin the A’s deep into the season as he comes back from surgery. He was 12-8 with a 3.97 ERA in 2013 and came to camp in 2014 as one of Oakland’s five starters, but he needed mid-March surgery.

Continue Reading

0

Crisp’s goal is to stay in the A’s lineup more in 2015

Coco Crisp will try and rein in his aggressive tendency this season in an effort to stay healthy.

Coco Crisp will try and rein in his aggressive tendency this season in an effort to stay healthy.

Coco Crisp is going to try to take it a little bit easier in 2015 as the A’s center fielder and leadoff hitter.

Crisp can’t imagine not playing hard. His all-out style of play is what defines him.

After a year in which collisions with outfield walls led to neck pain and a dropoff in productivity, Crisp tells me it’s important to be on the field more this season, and if that means easing off the accelerator a little, so be it.

“I’m going to try and rein in my aggressive game,’’ Crisp said. The outfielder, who will be with his new (and some of his old) teammates at the Coliseum and Arena Sunday for the A’s annual FanFest, doesn’t like to talk about health issues. After a long off-season of rehab to get his neck problems under control, however, he waived that prerogative and opened up on the subject.

Continue Reading

0

Vogt still sore after foot surgery but feeling good once again

A's catcher Stephen Vogt has been cleared to run after spending 9.5 weeks in a surgical boot following foot surgery.

A’s catcher Stephen Vogt has been cleared to run after spending 9.5 weeks in a surgical boot following foot surgery.

Stephen Vogt has sore feet, but the A’s catcher isn’t complaining.

He spent 9½ weeks in a boot following surgery on his right foot Oct. 14, and the soreness is just a matter of getting acclimated to not having his foot encased in a boot for all that time.

His surgeon, Dr. Kenneth Jung, cleared him to start running last week and Vogt says he expects to be good to go when spring training starts in Mesa, Ariz. in a month’s time.

“There is soreness, but there is no pain, so that’s a huge improvement for me,’’ Vogt said. “I played in pain for the last three months of the year, and that’s gone. So even with the soreness, I’m feeling good physically.

Continue Reading

3

Cuba’s Olivera could be a solid fit for new-look A’s infield

Hector Olivera, at the plate in 2010 for Team Cuba, could be a good fit for A's.

Hector Olivera, at the plate in 2010 for Team Cuba, could be a good fit for A’s.

In the aftermath of the A’s season-ending loss to the Royals in Kansas City, I mentioned that in looking forward, Oakland might want to take a close look at Cuban free agent second baseman Hector Olivera.

A dozen weeks later, with the calendar ready to morph from 2014 to 2015, it’s time to revisit that hypothesis and expand on it.

The A’s have made wholesale changes and will have an almost entirely different infield going forward than the one that served them the last three seasons or so. The exception is at second base, where Eric Sogard, a good defender coming off a miserable offensive season, returns.

That’s if the roster doesn’t have any more turnover. However, the A’s have both a history of post-Christmas trades and money to address deficiencies thanks to their three-month spree in which the Oakland roster has gotten both younger and less expensive.

Continue Reading