Day 1: Pitchers and catchers report
Greetings from Phoenix, where A’s pitchers and catchers reported to camp today at the club’s Minor League facilities at Papago Park. Much of the roster was on hand, and several took part in group workouts even though the first official workout isn’t scheduled until tomorrow. Notably missing from the bunch was Gio Gonzalez, Kurt Suzuki and Josh Donaldson, but they were all expected to check in at some point during the day. Players aren’t technically required to show up on report day, but they at least have to notify the team that they’ve arrived. Bob Geren said he expects everyone to be present tomorrow at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, where pitchers and catchers are slated to work out the remainder of the week. Here’s a hodgepodge of notes that came out of the morning’s visit to Papago Park:
- Geren said Cliff Pennington is expected to miss the first week of exhibition games because of his surgically-repaired left shoulder. All things considered, that’s relatively good news for the A’s shortstop, who had surgery on his shoulder to repair a labrum tear in early October. Pennington’s already in camp doing rehab work, and he hopes to be at 100 percent by Opening Day.
- Pennington’s backup, Adam Rosales, is still strapped to crutches and playing the waiting game with his right foot. He’ll see a doctor on Thursday, when he’s hoping to say goodbye to the crutches and simply rely on his walking boot. From there, he’ll work to get out of the boot and begin some legwork. As we learned last year, Rosales is always full of energy, so it’s hard seeing him wandering around the weight room with nothing much to do. He’s still hoping to make a return sometime in the middle of March, but he knows he can’t rush the process. In the meantime, you can expect to see Steve Tolleson and Eric Sogard – both of whom are already working out in camp — get plenty of action in the infield.
- Ryan Sweeney said his knees are feeling great, and he’s back to undergoing baseball activity at 100 percent. He knows he’s currently thought of as the team’s fourth outfielder, “but that only makes me want to work that much harder.” Sweeney is also aware of the talk surrounding his questionable power potential, and while he said he would of course like to hit more home runs, he’s not going to change his approach too much at the cost of lowering his average.
- Joey Devine has been in Arizona since January and has already thrown four bullpen sessions using all of his pitches. He said he feels great and is anxious to be part of the bullpen competition. At the same time, he doesn’t think about the team’s other candidates. “I’ve never wanted anything handed to me,” he said. “If healthy, I know I can help any team, so I can’t think too much about open spots or who is competing for them.”
- The big talk in camp this morning was how much several A’s players trimmed down this winter. Andrew Bailey, Brett Anderson and Landon Powell all lost at least 10 pounds during the offseason and look to be in prime shape. Anderson joked that Dallas Braden — who has always sported a rather thin frame — could take on all of the combined weight lost by everyone else. You can read more about Bailey and the progress of his elbow here.
- Former A’s player Scott Hatteberg will intermittently be helping out in camp over the next few weeks. He’s been named a Special Assistant to Baseball Operations in the front office, and he took part in all of the morning’s staff meetings.
- Among the early position player arrivals along with Sweeney, Pennington, Rosales, Sogard and Tolleson are Daric Barton, David DeJesus, Michael Taylor and Matt Carson. The latter two don’t appear in a position to gain a roster spot, but both are glad to be back in camp and ready to prove their worth. Taylor enjoyed a nice offseason in Orlando, while Carson and his wife welcomed their second baby girl in Temecula, Calif. this winter.
- Braden walked outside the team’s facilities today to find half a dozen Japanese reporters, to whom he exclaimed, “Where’s Matsui?!” Matsui has yet to arrive at camp, but that didn’t stop several media outlets from questioning Geren about him.
I’ll constantly be updating this blog with all your Spring Training news, so make sure to check back here daily for any and all happenings around A’s camp. Make sure to also visit the A’s site for more news and follow me on Twitter for quick and timely updates.