Pretty quiet Sunday morning at Muni, where the A’s host the Royals this afternoon. There wasn’t much in the way of news, although the first big round of cuts is expected after the game. Right-hander Sonny Gray, the 2011 first-round pick, was the first to be sent down. He got word yesterday.
–An A’s spring tradition, the “Feats of Strength” presentation, took place in the clubhouse. I’ve seen this six times now, and it never fails to entertain. Team chaplain Donnie Moore and a couple of his assistants tear apart phone books, bend steel bars and karate-chop concrete blocks with their bare hands – the motivational message being that if you envision yourself able to do something, you can accomplish any goal.
This was the first time manager Bob Melvin has seen the “Feats of Strength.” Little did he know he’d be asked to lay flat on his back on a bench, with a slab of concrete resting on his chest. Then someone took a hammer of some sort (my view was blocked by all the players gathered around) and smashed the concrete across his chest. Melvin hopped up and gave a couple high-fives, admitting later he had his eyes closed through the whole episode. Moore did the same thing with former manager Bob Geren last spring.
“There’s motivational speaking and then there’s that,” Melvin said. “Actions speak louder than words, and it was all it was cracked up to be.”
On the baseball front …
–Yoenis Cespedes is hitting third as D.H. today. “Maybe we’ll move him back to fourth the next day,” Melvin said. “We do feel he’s a middle-of-the-order bat. I don’t think he did anything to disprove that (Saturday).” Where might Cespedes settle in the batting order? I’d say that depends on whether anyone else emerges as a potential No. 3 hitter. Seth Smith or Josh Reddick could fit the bill, although we don’t even know if Smith will be in the lineup full time. Cespedes will be off Monday, as Melvin is putting him on the same two-on, one-off rotation as his regular starters.
–Daric Barton will make his exhibition debut Monday, serving as D.H. against the White Sox in Glendale. His throwing is still coming along slowly after shoulder surgery, so no word yet on when he’ll play first base.
A’s: Weeks 2B, Crisp CF, Cespedes DH, Gomes LF, Donaldson 3B, Smith RF, Recker C, Ka’aihue 1B, Pennington SS; Milone LHP.
Royals: Cain CF, Betancourt 2B, Hosmer 1B, Butler DH, Francoeur RF, Moustakas 3B, Pena C, Robinson LF, Escobar SS; Chen LHP.