Reporting day signals end of offseason
Plenty rain joined pitchers and catchers at Phoenix Municipal Stadium this morning, which was all about hellos and hugs and new haircuts and physicals and far too much talk of beards – even Brandon Moss, who has a modest beard of his own, joked, “There’s too much hair in this clubhouse.” This after seeing Daric Barton’s new beard, which arguably rivals Josh Reddick’s. If you couldn’t tell, it was obviously a very relaxed day around camp, since the only thing going on was pitchers and catchers checking in and such, with a large handful of position players roaming around in advance of their own report day Saturday. Nevertheless, here’s a breakdown of the day and of the team’s status heading into camp, which will liven up once workouts begin. Among those to report was Bartolo Colon, who has not spoken to media since his Aug. 22 drug suspension last year. He declined to talk again today, and it didn’t sound like he would be ready to talk anytime soon. Still, his teammates hold no grudges against the pitcher and are simply just amped to get back to baseball again.
The pitching staff is expected to receive an addition soon in lefty Hideki Okajima, who agreed to terms with the A’s on a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite Monday, pending a physical.
As the above links suggest, most of the daily content that comes out of camp can be found at oaklandathletics.com. But that coverage will be supplemented by several other social media platforms, including Twitter, where you can find instant updates via my account @JaneMLB, and this blog, where I’ll dump other bits of information and tidbits. I’ve also thought about creating a work account for Instagram, so if that’s something you’d be interested in following, please do let me know.
Now, onto a random dose of news from Day 1:
- New shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima met with media for a few minutes and said he’s been in Arizona since Jan. 31, in an effort to get to know his teammates, the facilities and the typical workout routine ahead of schedule, as to allow himself to fully focus on baseball once workouts begin Tuesday. In Japan, Nakajima said, spring workouts begin by February and involve seven-hour workouts with just one 15-minute lunch break. They’re even longer for younger players, who spend an extra hour and a half at the park following dinner, so “you’re entire body is sore and painful,” he said. Nakajima is looking forward to the “relaxed environment” Major League camp offers, but he plans to take advantage of each minute, fully knowing the adjustments that await him offensively and defensively. Off the field, everyone knows he’ll be just fine, with such a likeable personality.
- Scott Sizemore, in the mix for the everyday second base job, enters camp with no restrictions after recovering from the torn ACL he suffered on the first day of workouts last year. He’s obviously anxious to get out there but even more so for his first child, a baby girl, to be born. Sizemore’s wife, Brooke, has a week until her due date but the couple is hoping she arrives sooner, so as to allow them time together to adjust before full-squad workouts begin.
- Manager Bob Melvin reiterated what he said at FanFest about some of his pitchers easing into camp and being held back during the first batch of games. They’ll be particularly careful with guys like Grant Balfour, Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle, who endured a big workload last year – nothing to be concerned about at all but important in helping them be fully ready for the season, especially with workouts starting earlier this year because of the World Baseball Classic.
- Speaking of the Classic, Balfour said he did consider joining Team Australia but ultimately felt it in his best interest to remain with the A’s and get his arm ready for the regular season. Plus, he added, “I’m going into a season here where I’m going to be a free agent, too, so I have to take care of myself.”
- Catcher John Jaso seemingly fits right in with this loose bunch of A’s, and he’s excited to be working with a pitching staff he faced one too many times for his liking last year while with the Mariners. Melvin said Jaso, like all of the catchers in camp, will be working with every pitcher, so as to get acclimated with the whole roster so there’s never any real surprises once the season begins.
- Righty Andrew Carignan, on the mend from Tommy John surgery, threw his first side session last week – 20 pitches – and all went well, putting him on track to throw two side sessions a week for the next five weeks. Other than him, every other A’s pitcher is without restriction entering camp — aside from maybe Jordan Norberto, Melvin said. Norberto missed significant time at the end of last season and, though he feels great, the A’s want to be cautious with him.