Results tagged ‘ Dallas Braden ’

Postgame quick hits

Notes from today’s intrasquad game (which ended with a 5-3 score, but who’s keeping track?):

Coco Crisp, as expected, filled the DH role today. After the game, manager Bob Geren said Crisp won’t be starting in the outfield “for a while” — most likely not until the end of Spring Training in order to give him time to complete rehab of his surgically-repaired shoulder.

Geren noted that both Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden threw well. Braden, especially, was sharp with his control. “Considering he’s had the most time off,” Geren said, “he threw exceptional.”

Michael Taylor tallied two hits — both which were hit extremely hard — and an RBI while getting time in left field. Other top prospect Chris Carter played an inning at first and even held Taylor there at one point during the game. Makes you wonder when the two of them will play on the same field in Oakland.

Geren wasn’t too impressed — but mostly indifferent — with some of the younger pitchers, including Pedro Figueroa, John Meloan, Fautino De Los Santos and Fernando Hernandez. But, “it was their first time out there, so the command wasn’t where it needs to be.” However, the A’s skipper did note that he liked what he saw from Tyson Ross, who threw a “real good” slider, cutter and fastball.

Kevin Kouzmanoff didn’t see any action because of a bruised right shin, but he told me this afternoon that he should be good to go tomorrow. The bruise came from what Kouz described as a “really hard-hit line drive” off the bat of Adam Rosales. He couldn’t run today, but he did manage to hit … and get some dishes done in the A’s kitchen. “This is what they make you do when you’re not playing,” he joked.

Wednesday wrap-up

2 p.m.: Geren recently met with us for a bit again before calling it a day. He said he was spread thin today but did get to see Ben Sheets throw a simulated session to Corey Wimberly. Geren said the A’s right-hander had great movement on all three of his pitches.

Fautino De Los Santos and Pedro Figueroa looked great today, according to Geren. “Real live arms,” he said. As for Dallas Braden, who also threw a bullpen today, Geren said he looked good from a distance.

We ma be seeing Coco Crisp in
the DH spot during the first week of Spring Training games. Geren said
his hitting is ahead of his throwing schedule, and the team doesn’t
want to rush anything with his surgically repaired shoulder that kept
him out for all but a few weeks last season in Kansas City. Plus, as
Geren noted, “We obviously know what he can do defensively. We’re not
worried about that.”

Tomorrow should be a rather quiet day
around here, as Clayton Mortensen is the only pitcher scheduled to
throw. Geren said the extra day of rest for the pitchers was built into
the schedule. Position players are scheduled to report, and all are
expected to make it on time. Non-roster catcher Joel Galarraga is still dealing with visa problems in Mexico.

Update on Duchscherer

4:00 p.m.: Justin Duchscherer’s scheduled nerve ablation procedure for noon today has been delayed until tomorrow at 11:30am, according to Bob Geren — who couldn’t say why it was moved back. The A’s right-hander has been dealing with an irritated sacroiliac joint, which connects the base of the spine to the pelvic bone. He was bothered by the same problem last year while rehabbing from minor elbow surgery and has had three cortisone shots for the joint, but it is no longer responding to the treatment. The ablation will burn off the nerve ends of his SI joint using radio waves to produce heat that will destroy the nerve and relieve the pain. The right-hander insists it’s a minor setback and was told that recovery time usually varies from one day to one week, but the team has to be concerned given his injury history. Plus, the burnt nerve will eventually grow back, so it is possible Duchscherer will have to undergo the procedure again sometime down the line.

Also from Geren: Dallas Braden, one of 13 guys to take in a bullpen session today, threw 35 pitches and “looked good.” When I asked Braden about how his healing foot responded, he replied: “The arm feels great.” … Also making a strong impression was Tyson Ross. “His delivery looks cleaner and cleaner every time he’s out there,” Geren said. … While passing by, pitching coach Curt Young noted that both Pedro Figueroa and Fautino De Los Santos had good outings. The latter, who the A’s will be careful with because he had elbow surgery in 2008, showed off his breaking ball inbetween some hard strikes.

Weather forecasts indicate the rain may be gone for good, so the A’s will presumably be back out on the field tomorrow morning at 9:30 for stretching at Phoenix Muni. Three days ’til position players report…

Monday morning notes

10:40 a.m.: Thanks to a pretty steady rainfall in Phoenix this morning, the A’s packed up their equipment at Phoenix Muni about an hour ago and headed to Papago Park, where they’ll skip PFP (pitchers fielding practice) and simply stretch and do some conditioning before pitchers begin their throwing programs. Among those scheduled to throw bullpens today are the recovering Dallas Braden, along with Gio Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey and Craig Breslow.

Bob Geren talked with reporters this morning for a good while before venturing over to Papago. Some noteworthy comments from the skipper:

As I mentioned Saturday, Jake Fox has been in camp helping catch bullpens. When asked about Fox’s catching abilities, Geren said he definitely wants to see what the newcomer can do behind the plate. “That’s why he’s here,” Geren stated. The A’s manager said Fox will be catching a few Spring Training games when not getting time as DH or at the corner infield slots and even left field. Geren threw BP to Fox yesterday and said he likes the way he hits. “You can tell a lot about how a guy approaches the plate during BP,” Geren said. Fox will be fighting for a utility spot with Eric Chavez and Adam Rosales this spring.

Max Stassi, the youngest guy in camp at age 18 (he was born in 1991!), has already made quite the impression on Geren, who will be watching the young catcher closely. Geren, once a big league catcher himself, says he usually forges a strong bond with catchers. “He doesn’t have the appearance of being 18 years old,” Geren said. “You would think he’s much older.” Stassi will have plenty to learn behind the plate alongside Kurt Suzuki and Landon Powell, but Geren said the team will be careful with how they approach his offensive game. “We don’t tend to make major adjustments with someone of that age,” he said.

As a side note, newly acquired outfielder Coco Crisp and his playful personality showed up to camp today, as did Chris Carter, who will be watched closely this spring. Justin Duchscherer’s nerve ablation procedure is schedule for noon, so hopefully I’ll have more on him by the end of the day.

And even though Ben Sheets insisted yesterday that he “hates” Spring Training, he was quite eager to get on the field this morning about a half hour before stretching was scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. “What are we waiting for?” he announced. “I could have slept in a bit longer this morning. I’m ready to go right now!”

Pitchers and catchers report: Rainy day roundup

Seems like just a day ago I was teasing my sister about the rain she was getting in Northern California. And there I was, texting her from my patio while working under the perfect 75-degree sun in Arizona. Silly me, for not thinking karma would actually come back to get me so soon. But such was the case this morning as I stepped out of the car bright and early on pitchers/catchers reporting day under dark clouds just waiting to topple me with big, cold raindrops. Out of courtesy, they waited a whole hour before letting loose, but that didn’t help the fact I was standing sans umbrella and rain coat while waiting for A’s players to enter and leave the clubhouse facilities, which were closed all day due to physicals. Luckily, all seven of us media people didn’t have to shiver much longer before being allowed to stand in a small hallway just around the corner from the clubhouse. The players must have loved it, as we created somewhat of a red carpet entrance by standing on both sides of the walkway. At the same time, they must have also rolled their eyes after passing us, knowing full well it would be hard to escape without coming back from their physicals to talk to us. A few got by, but we did catch up with several notable guys. Here’s a good-size collection of what I heard today:

Bob Geren reported that Justin Duchscherer has been experiencing stiffness off and on in his lower back for a couple of weeks, the most recent time being this morning after throwing a 20-pitch bullpen session yesterday. He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow morning before pitchers and catchers begin their first official workouts at 9:45 a.m. Geren didn’t sound overly concerned, but the team must be slightly worried given Justin’s history with back injuries. Should be interesting to see if he is limited to certain activities tomorrow. 

Ben Sheets held an informal media session after his physical and appeared very confident heading into tomorrow’s workouts with zero restrictions. He is following the same throwing program as the other A’s pitchers and will throw his second bullpen session (his first one came Friday) tomorrow. The A’s big offseason acquisition admitted it was a little strange “putting on the green” after being in Milwaukee for so long, but he said he’s excited for the challenge of a new league. Sheets added that he tries different things every spring but usually comes out of it with the same two pitches (fastball and curveball) he’s used since he was 11 years old. “They ask about the changeup and I’m usually eh about it,” he said. “I’ll throw it here and there.” He’s tried all forms of a cutter but insists they all look the same – “straight as a string.” However, he might try learning what he called his 12th cutter since he likes what he sees of Duchscherer’s cutter. Said Sheets: “I believe in location and a breaking ball, and we’ll go from there.”

On another note, Sheets said he attended the Super Bowl. He grew up a life-long Saints fan and even used to wear a Saints jersey to the ballpark every Sunday when he played with the Brewers. We’ll have to see if that tradition continues here in Oakland. Sheets on the game: “Great results. Maybe I’ll get that feeling soon.” A’s fans can only hope…

Vin Mazzaro has completely recovered from the shoulder tendinitis that shut down his season early last year. Like every other pitcher (aside from maybe Duchscherer now), he is not limited in any way.

Brett Anderson told us he’d like to work on his changeup to have another weapon against right-handed hitters. He said he feels a little more relaxed entering camp knowing that he has a better grip on job security, which allows him the chance to work on different aspects of his game. Brett recently turned 22 and celebrated with family and friends at a dinner in Stillwater, Okla., where he spent his offseason.

The always entertaining Dallas Braden provided a much-needed 20 minutes worth of comic relieve for us reporters in the hallway. First of all, on a more serious note, he spoke of the left foot that caused him to put a hold on his season last year after only 22 starts. He still feels lingering effects from the nerve irritation that developed last year and still has no feeling in two of his toes. On top of that, Braden had a nasal endoscopy in December because of a deviated septum and resulting breathing problems. He can now breathe and sleep comfortably, but that wasn’t before he experienced a few days of post-procedure effects. If you don’t like blood, I advise you to skip to the next paragraph, but this story is too good not to share. After his operation, Braden had to keep a cotton ball under his nose. One day, his grandmother ran to the store to get more cotton balls and Dallas decided to remove the one he had on. The result: a “waterfall” of blood everywhere. He called his grandma and yelled: “You gotta come back here. I don’t know what’s going on. You gotta take me to the hospital.” Upon grandma’s return, blood was all over the sink and she thought he had shot someone or something. Now, a flood of blood should normally not be so humorous, but leave it to Dallas to make it such.

Josh Outman, another recovering pitcher, talked about his recovery from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery and the resulting surgical effects in the form of shoulder soreness, which shut him down for six weeks. However, he says he still plans to be back with the team by midseason — hopefully in the rotation rather than the bullpen. For more on Outman, see a full story on him later tonight at the A’s site.

Heard more from Michael Taylor today. He basically said he’s going to be the best he can be to win a roster spot, but if the team doesn’t deem him ready, that’s OK too because it will give him more to work on at Triple-A Sacramento. With all the outfield commotion going on this spring, I see Taylor starting the year in Sacramento, mostly because I believe the A’s want to preserve his service time and make sure he’s up for good once he arrives. Until that time, I suspect he’ll tear it up with the River Cats.

We also talked to Andrew Bailey for a bit. He once again described his whirlwind of an offseason and how he’s not taking anything for granted this spring despite a guaranteed roster spot. “There are guys here like me last year,” he said. “You never know who’s behind you.” Bailey spent the offseason working out with fellow bullpen mate Craig Breslow, whose offseason home was about 10 minutes from Bailey’s.

Position players spotted in camp today: Eric Chavez, Mark Ellis, Eric Patterson, Cliff Pennington, Landon Powell and Travis Buck

That should do it for now. Expect more tomorrow as pitchers and catchers begin workouts at Phoenix Municipal, where I’ll be reporting from all day — hopefully under the sun. Take care, and enjoy what’s left of your Saturday night.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for lots of updates throughout my days in camp. It’s a perfect way to stay connected to the team as news unfolds: http://twitter.com/JaneMLB

<!–
/* Font Definitions */
@font-face
{font-family:"Cambria Math";
panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4;
mso-font-charset:1;
mso-generic-font-family:roman;
mso-font-format:other;
mso-font-pitch:variable;
mso-font-signature:0 0 0 0 0 0;}
@font-face
{font-family:Calibri;
panose-1:2 15 5 2 2 2 4 3 2 4;
mso-font-charset:0;
mso-generic-font-family:swiss;
mso-font-pitch:variable;
mso-font-signature:-1610611985 1073750139 0 0 159 0;}
/* Style Definitions */
p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal
{mso-style-unhide:no;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:"";
margin-top:0in;
margin-right:0in;
margin-bottom:10.0pt;
margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri;
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}
.MsoChpDefault
{mso-style-type:export-only;
mso-default-props:yes;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri;
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}
.MsoPapDefault
{mso-style-type:export-only;
margin-bottom:10.0pt;
line-height:115%;}
@page Section1
{size:8.5in 11.0in;
margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in;
mso-header-margin:.5in;
mso-footer-margin:.5in;
mso-paper-source:0;}
div.Section1
{page:Section1

Depth comes with decisions

For those still not sold on yesterday’s signing, I urge you
to join the pro-Sheets club. Why? Because it’s a win-win for all — Sheets gets
to pitch in a pitcher-friendly park, put up good numbers and re-enter the
market at season’s end and/or be moved to a contender for prospects come July
if the A’s are out of contention.

Basically, it’s a smart move for both sides — unless, of
course, Sheets gets hurt. But after listening to both the right-handed pitcher
and Beane talk extensively both during and after the press conference about
Sheets’ questioned health, I firmly believe he’s not going to be crowding the
trainer’s room this year. Billy said the guy keeps himself in remarkable shape,
and Ben went on for about five minutes about how extensive his physical was
before the deal was done.

Billy was asked if he felt anxious about having his rotation
led by two guys who didn’t pitch an inning last year. Definitely a fair
question, and one that I’m sure has plenty A’s fans wondering about too. Here’s
Billy’s answer:

“I wouldn’t say anxiety. Bigger anxiety was going into last
year having so little experience in our starting rotation. Ben opted to have
the surgery a year ago in an effort to make sure he was completely healthy, so
I have less concern than I would had he not had the surgery.

“Quite frankly, we were very pleased with the physical he
went through. Ben keeps himself in great shape, as does Justin, so we’re
anticipating them having a real good year. We can take a little bit of pressure
off our rotation because we now have some depth, which we haven’t had in the
last few years. Going into Spring Training, we have seven or eight guys.”

Later, Bob Geren was promptly asked about his starting
rotation. Is Sheets your ace? “Oh yea,” he replied. Quite a change from last year,
when Geren didn’t choose his OD starter (Braden) until five days before the
first pitch was thrown. He said Duchscherer, Braden and Anderson would likely
follow in that order, although I see a couple different options there since
Geren usually likes to go R-L-R or L-R-L. Both Geren and Beane made it very
clear that the fifth spot is not Cahill’s for certain — which I suspect
several people assumed would be the case. I, for one, though, do see Cahill –
who turns 22 in March — landing that fifth spot.

He definitely didn’t make as many strides as fellow rotation
youngster Anderson did last season, but he did improve on keeping the ball down
in the strike zone near the end of the year. His sinker has potential to be
very dangerous, but he’s gotta be careful with the long ball (he gave up an
Oakland-rookie-record 27 homers last year).

Then there’s Gio. The guy’s got what Geren deems the best
stuff on the staff, but keeping Gio in check mentally is what’s preventing him
from becoming a bona fide Major League pitcher. I talked with Gio for a long
while about this last week, and he said he feels he’s turned a page when it
comes to calming down on the mound. He’ll have to walk the talk come spring,
but if what he’s saying proves to be true, then he could definitely be in the
mix for the No. 5 spot.

Mazzaro is the final candidate for the job and, frankly, the
one several around the league pegged as the next big thing last spring. He was
usually mentioned in the same breath as Anderson and Cahill, and people were
going gaga over comparing the trio to The Big Three of Hudson, Mulder and Zito.
He was called up in June and quickly had heads turning by posting a 0.00 ERA in
his first two starts. But then he suddenly lost eight in a row, suffered a
shoulder injury and was never heard from again. Less walks and more strikes,
along with a slightly more poised appearance, and Mazzaro’s a big leaguer. But
when that time will come, no one knows. So for now, I see him getting schooled
at Triple A to start the season.

Don’t forget about Josh Outman, who should be back
mid-season. Including him, that’s 8 pitchers available to start. So when Billy
grabbed Sheets, was part of the plan to trade one of the younger pitchers for a
much-needed utility INF? “I think it’s fair to say we’ll hold on to the young
guys. We’ve finally got a little bit of depth.”

Depth? Yes. Lots of decisions left to make? Oh yes.

In a perfect world, what does your rotation look like?  

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 53 other followers