Evan Scribner is finding there’s a certain freedom in being able to focus not on the where of baseball but on the how.
Scribner is out of options, meaning the right-handed reliever either makes the A’s bullpen or the A’s have to put him on waivers with the likely possibility that another club would pick him up. That’s the where.
The how is simple.
Ike Davis added an RBI single and two-run homer to his output Wednesday.
Ike Davis is hitting .520 after having an RBI single and a two-run homer Wednesday but he says he knows one thing about his future.
“I won’t hit .700 this year,’’ Davis said after concluding his portion of the A’s 9-9 tie with Milwaukee. “Write it down.’’
It’s a good bet the left-handed hitting A’s first baseman won’t have to swallow those words. He’s going great guns right now, including a homer off the batter’s eye in Maryvale Park that accounted for two of his three RBIs. But nobody goes that great.
Davis came to the A’s in a deal with the Pirates this off-season with the reputation as being an above-average defender at first base with the tendency to pull the ball and hit for some power. Opposing teams know that and like to load up the right side of the infield with three defenders.
Sean Doolittle will start the season on the disabled list, and with Ryan Cook sent to Triple-A, A’s bullpen will have a different look to start 2015.
The A’s came into the spring with a surplus of bullpen arms, but February and March have whittled down at the A’s excess, although not to the point where manager Bob Melvin is particularly worried.
First the A’s learned that shoulder problems would mean that Sean Doolittle, their lefty closer, wouldn’t be able to start the season with the club. Doolittle is getting closer to playing catch, but he’s unlikely to be ready to be competitive before May.
And on Tuesday, 2012 All-Star Ryan Cook was sent to Triple-A Nashville’s roster, meaning he won’t be eligible to be in the big leagues, barring injury to someone else, for the first 10 days of the season.
Barry Zito is continuing to create a strong market for his services with 11 consecutive scoreless innings.
Barry Zito has shown remarkable focus this spring, and we’re not just talking about the 11 consecutive scoreless innings he’s racked up his last three appearances.
While all anyone else wants to talk about with Zito is which club he’ll eventually wind up starting for, Zito continues to put on an A’s uniform and throw one impressive inning after another without looking too far toward the future.
He says he’s not even focused on the scoreless innings streak except as to how hitters have reacted to his pitches during that stretch.
Coco Crisp sore right elbow led to him being scratched against the Cubs Tuesday.
At the top of the A’s list of goals for spring training was keeping Coco Crisp healthy, so much so that the club moved him from center field to left before Cactus League play began.
The plan has not gone as well as it might, Crisp being scratched from the A’s starting lineup Tuesday against the Cubs.
Crisp was limited to 126 games by neck injuries last year, the first striking in May and the re-injury coming in August.
Ryan Cook says he’s trying to get his fingers more on top of the ball to drive it lower in the strike zone.
It’s good to be a veteran, as the A’s Ryan Cook attested Tuesday.
On Monday he gave up three runs in two innings as his bloated spring ERA settled in at 16.88.
The 2012 All-Star took a matter-of-fact look at the situation.
“If I wasn’t a veteran,’’ he said, “I might not be here right now.’’
Instead of being shipped down to the minor league camp, which would be the fate of a rookie, he’s getting time to work out his issues, spending time with pitching coach Curt Young. He’s healthy and he’s feeling stronger than he has in a couple of years, and he has the advantage of not making himself crazy about his mid-spring struggles.
Chris Bassitt is trying to get his pitches inside to left-handed hitters.
The lessons Cactus League hitters are administering to Chris Bassitt aren’t being lost on the A’s right-hander.
Bassitt was knocked around for five runs in 4.1 innings Monday in an 8-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians, leaving his ERA for the spring at a staggering 8.76.
Each time out, the story is the same. He does just fine against right-handed hitters, but lefties keep crushing his fastball.
“I have to be able to throw inside to left-handed hitters,’’ he said. “I’ve always been able to get away with it in the minor leagues. But up here, they hit that. I’ve been working at that my whole life, honestly. At this level you can’t beat anyone if you can’t.
When Fernando Rodriguez got sent over to the A’s minor league camp after Sunday’s game, there were still 20 pitchers left in the big league camp, so on the face of it, the numbers facing Rodriguez weren’t good.
But other than the dozen pitchers who will start on Oakland’s big league roster come April 6, Rodriguez could still be as close to the big leagues as anyone.
The problem for him is that the A’s have a lot of unknown pitchers around in that last group of eight, while he is very much a known quantity. The fact that he gave up two hits and took the loss against the Reds Sunday in Goodyear didn’t much play into the decision to send him down. That move was in the works before he pitched Sunday.
Jesse Hahn is on the verge of starting the season in the A’s rotation, as is another newcomer, Kendall Graveman
It’s going to be probably another week or so before manager Bob Melvin announces his starting rotation.
The holdovers from last year, Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir, are locks, but the makeup of the rest of the rotation is up for grabs, they tell us. But is it?
It’s looking increasingly as if both Jesse Hahn and Kendall Graveman have pitched their way onto the staff. That likely would mean Drew Pomeranz also is in and Jesse Chavez is due to be the long man in the bullpen.
In the cases of Hahn and Graveman, the deeper they get into the spring, the better they look. Manager Bob Melvin used the word “terrific’’ in describing Hahn on Saturday, then came back with “we haven’t seen him struggle yet’’ when talking about Graveman Sunday.
Josh Reddick says his WWE championship belt, a gift from Tiple-H, is among his most prized possessions.
A’s right fielder Josh Reddick had this coming weekend all planned out.
“I looked at the WWE schedule when they announced WrestleMania was going to be in Santa Clara,’’ he said. “It’s always the end of March. And we’re always home then for the Bay Bridge Series. It was going to work out perfect.’’
For Reddick, such a huge WWE fan that he has a championship belt given to him by his favorite wrestler, Triple-H, perfection did not come as expected.
“I looked at our spring schedule and this year we’re a week late,’’ he said Sunday morning. The A’s won’t open the season until April 6 at home against Texas, so the three-game Bay Bridge meetup with the Giants won’t happen until April 2-4, the better part of a week after WrestleMania comes to Levis Stadium on March 29.
Reddick grew up as a wrestling fan in Georgia got away from it for a while, but got back into about seven years ago. He numbers Triple-H among his friends, has gotten plenty of time behind stage at WWE events, and he had a brief “beard-off’’ with the WWE’s Daniel Bryan, Bryan winning and shaving Reddick’s beard after the 2013 season.