Sean Manaea came into 2017 wanting to tighten up his slider so it was not as loopy and overexposed to righties. He did use the pitch more in 2017, and early on it helped. Manaea hit the All-Star break with a 3.76 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 24.0 percent strikeout rate. He limped to the finish line last season, posting a 5.23 ERA, 1.67 WHIP and 15.4 percent strikeout rate. That drop in strikeouts is alarming from season-to-season let alone within a single season. He did not lose too much velocity off his fastball (92.1 to 91.7), but he was quite hittable over the summer including an outing against Baltimore where he never got a second out while allowing six earned runs. When Manaea is dealing, it is fun to watch, but the lack of consistency right now dampens the appeal of his upside.
Manaea, who recorded three strikeouts and allowed an earned run on four hits and three walks over 4.2 innings in a Saturday 4-1 Cactus League loss to the Mariners, came away impressed with debuting backstop Jonathan Lucroy, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. "He's very well prepared," Manaea said, "and he definitely takes charge and controls the entire diamond. Having a guy like that, especially with the time and knowledge that he has, is huge." Manaea had the distinction of being the first Athletics hurler to kick the proverbial tires on Lucroy, who helped the left-hander whittle his spring ERA down to 2.53 with some savvy on-the-fly adjustments and solid overall game management. Given Jharel Cotton's season-ending elbow injury, Manaea's importance to the makeshift starting rotation increases even further. His solid spring offers reason for optimism, as do the results generated during his initial opportunity to work with his new backstop.
Manaea (1-0) allowed two earned runs on four hits over four innings while striking out two in Sunday's 7-2 Cactus League win over the Cubs. The pair of blemishes on his final line came in the form of home runs, as Kyle Schwarber and Chris Gimenez went deep in the second inning off a slider and first-pitch fastball, respectively, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. Otherwise, it was another sharp outing for the lefty, who's averaging a strikeout per inning over his first two spring outings. Manaea doubled his workload in terms of innings over that of his first appearance as well, lending credence to the notion that the back issues that delayed his spring training debut are squarely behind him.
Manaea (back) fired two scoreless innings in Tuesday's 5-3 Cactus League win over the Rangers, allowing a hit and two walks while recording three strikeouts. According to a report by Jane Lee of MLB.com, Manaea was especially pleased with his slider, a pitch he allowed a paltry .174 average against last season while inducing 89 swings-and-misses. He worked up to 45 pitches over his pair of frames and the southpaw struck out the side in the first. Manaea had been scratched from his start a week prior due to back tightness. "He ended up getting the swings and misses that we wanted to see, used all his pitches," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Starting out in a good direction for him."
Manaea (back) is officially starting Tuesday's spring game against the Rangers. As anticipated, the southpaw will toe the rubber to start Oakland's Tuesday tilt after being scratched last week due to back tightness. It's unclear how many innings he'll log in this particular game, but it's possible that the Athletics could hold him back a bit to ensure his back doesn't flare up again. However, Manaea should be 100 percent for Opening Day barring any setbacks.
Manaea (back) is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut Tuesday against the Rangers, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. Manaea was able to throw a 30-to-35 pitch simulated game Wednesday without any problems. He was previously scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday with middle back tightness but there doesn't appear to be any real concern over his status as the calendar flips to March. Expect him to be at full health by Opening Day barring any setbacks.