Day 3: Hallelujah, it’s raining (setup) men
Is that amount of cheesiness allowed when it’s only the third day of camp? I don’t know, but I’m going with it.
But, really, the A’s are absolutely loaded with setup men. They’re stacked, in general, in the bullpen, but this group in particular could really be something special. We’ve seen how great the Ryan Cook-Sean Doolittle combo can be leading up to the ninth inning, but for Bob Melvin to also have Luke Gregerson at his disposal is significant. Dan Otero, too, will be called upon at times this year to get the job done. Melvin said as much when speaking of his setup guys today.
Doolittle, by the way, threw a bullpen for the first time in a week Monday and felt no issues with his calf, so it appears he’s in the clear.
So many quality arms in there already, and then the A’s went out and got another today, stealing Joe Savery off waivers from the Phillies this afternoon. Here’s the story on the left-hander, who is expected to report to camp tomorrow and join in on the workouts on Wednesday. A preview: He had good numbers last year, but with bizarre splits, and can hit! The A’s do like their players to be versatile.
Savery’s arrival really does add more intrigue to the battle for bullpen spots, since only two seem to be open. Jesse Chavez and Evan Scribner are both out of options. They’re also both right-handed, so it seems one — Chavez probably has the edge here — may only make the team. That leaves room for a lefty, so it might come down to Savery and Fernando Abad. We can throw in Drew Pomeranz, too, though the A’s may want to keep him as a starter, even if it means he begins the year in Triple-A.
I spoke to Pomeranz today, and he’s not only feeling better about that awful infection he got from an ingrown leg hair (yes, he said this was a first for him), but about where he is as a pitcher. Specifically, he says he’s not lost anymore with his mechanics. He’s at a place where he feels confident in repeating his delivery, and a new change of scenery usually helps too.
“I’m already feeling more confident,” said Pomeranz. “That helps a lot, because you know you are yourself and you don’t have to think about what you’re doing wrong all the time. If you don’t feel right, you’re going to try to tweak every pitch, every little thing, things that probably don’t even need tweaking.”
That, and more from Pomeranz, can also be found in today’s Notebook.
Melvin is not planning on adding an intrasquad game to his team’s Spring Training schedule. Several clubs choose to organize one to give their players additional preseason game experience, but Melvin’s reasoning was simple.
“We’re not going to add a game just to add a game,” he said. “We have 162 regular-season games, 30-plus during the spring. We have more drills we want to focus on before playing what is plenty of games.”
Lastly, yoga’s back! For the A’s, that is. (I prefer Pilates.) This is the second spring they’ve brought in yoga expert Katherine Roberts, who has worked with a few other Major League teams in the past, as well.
“It’s really been good for our guys, and they embrace it,” said Melvin. “I think it was wise we broke it out again this year. It’s not just flexibility, but balance and body awareness — what parts of your body you need to work on to be a little bit looser and so forth.”
Position players will join in the fun when the first full-squad workout takes place Thursday. Billy Burns (the speedy outfielder acquired from the Nats for Jerry Blevins who also happens to look like a teenage bat boy) and Andy Parrino were the latest early arrivals Monday.
P.S. If you missed it this morning, MLB.com beat reporters did Q&As with each team’s president in honor of Presidents Day. A’s president Mike Crowley touched on the stadium issue, and noted the A’s payroll will climb above $70 million this year. That hasn’t happened since 2007 ($79 million).