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Athletics' Aramis Garcia: Backup bid off to strong start
Garcia went 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs in his Cactus League debut against the Reds on Monday.
The 28-year-old backstop is battling Austin Allen to serve as the primary backup to Sean Murphy (chest), and his bid certainly got off to a good start with Monday's performance. Garcia has multiple solid minor-league seasons at the plate on his professional resume; he appeared capable of carrying over that success to the big-league level with a .286/.308/.492 line (65 plate appearances) during his 2018 major-league debut with the Giants before limping to a .143/.217/.310 slash during his most recent taste of the majors in 2019.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Matt Olson: Opens eyes with first spring homer
Olson's two-run home run in his Cactus League debut against the Reds on Monday boasted an exit velocity of approximately 116 mph, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports.
All the required disclaimers about spring training aside, Olson's moon shot was nevertheless encouraging after he spent the offseason tweaking his swing following a paltry .195 average and 31.4 percent strikeout rate in 2020. Monday's blast went beyond the two bullpens situated behind right field before landing in the players' parking lot, perhaps an early harbinger of Olson returning to the caliber of production that netted a 36-homer, 91-RBI season just two years.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Buddy Reed: Making strong early impression
Reed, who is angling for an Opening Day reserve outfield spot, caught the eye of manager Bob Melvin with both his bat and glove over the Athletics' first two Cactus League games, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports.
Reed, who's primarily stood out for his defense throughout a minor-league career that dates back to 2016, cut down Matt Beaty at home plate in the second inning of Sunday's Cactus League opener, and repeated the feat Monday by nailing the Reds' Alfredo Rodriguez at third base. Reed also slugged a two-run home run in the bottom half of the frame for his first hit of spring, leading to plenty of accolades from Melvin. "He gets a first-pitch heater and puts a good swing on it," Melvin said. "But it's the defense that is his calling card. Not only is he able to play all three outfield positions, but he runs and throws well. He's getting an opportunity like he probably never has before in big league camp, and he's taking advantage of it."... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Matt Chapman: Doubles in Cactus League debut
Chapman started at designated hitter and doubled in three at-bats during Monday's Cactus League win over the Reds.
The Athletics had already announced their intentions of easing Chapman back into his third-base role after offseason hip surgery, so the start at DH wasn't unexpected. The 27-year-old laced a thunderous two-bagger in his final at-bat before calling it an afternoon, and Martin Gallegos of MLB.com notes Chapman is slated to make his defensive debut following Oakland's off day Thursday.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Jed Lowrie: Not yet available for games
Lowrie (knee) continues to face live pitching at camp, but Athletics trainers have yet to clear him to make his Cactus League debut, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports.
Lowrie was limited to just nine games at the big-league level over the past two seasons as a member of the Mets, with a litany of lower-body injuries keeping him off the field. After undergoing surgery in October to address lingering soreness in his left knee, Lowrie appears to be in a better spot health-wise entering 2021, but the Athletics -- who signed him to a minor-league deal this winter -- still plan to proceed cautiously with him this spring to avoid another setback. When Lowrie ultimately makes his spring debut, he'll be used as a designated hitter initially, and the Athletics will likely look to limit his time in the field throughout 2021 if he ends up winning a bench role with the big club.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Luis Barrera: Working out with team
Barrera resolved his visa issues and was cleared to join the Athletics for workouts over the weekend, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports.
Athletics manager Bob Melvin said that he initially planned to have Barrera make his Cactus League debut Wednesday against the Rockies, but after consulting the training staff, the decision was made to have the 25-year-old instead take part in batting practice and conditioning work over the next few days. Barrera is expected to compete for a reserve role in the Oakland outfield this spring, but he's most likely to open the season at Triple-A Las Vegas.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Daulton Jefferies: Impresses in spring debut
Jefferies was impressive during his one-inning start in Sunday's Cactus League loss to the Dodgers, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports.
The promising right-hander made quick work of Mookie Betts, Corey Seager and Austin Barnes, needing just nine pitches, seven of which he threw for strikes, to record a clean opening frame. His strikeout of Betts on three pitches to open the game undoubtedly set the right tone, and Jefferies, who endured a rough introduction to the big leagues late last season in a tough outing against the Rangers, also focused on his breathing to remain relaxed. That helped the 25-year-old deploy his impressive arsenal despite the quick outing, with his fastball clocking in at 96 mph and Jefferies also utilizing both his cutter and developing slider with effectiveness.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Paul Blackburn: Remains with organization
Blackburn cleared waivers Saturday and will remain in camp as a non-roster invitee, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports.
Blackburn and his 5.69 career ERA were unsurprisingly not a hot commodity on waivers. He'll remain in an organizational depth role for Oakland going forward.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Frankie Montas: Ramp-up process begins
Montas, who was cleared to join spring training Thursday after a stay on the COVID-19 injured list, has already begun his ramp-up process, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports.
The right-hander has already begun a throwing program, and manager Bob Melvin has confirmed Montas will be on the same schedule as the rest of the staff, but just a bit behind in the actual implementation. Montas is expected to progress from throwing bullpens to facing hitters in simulated situations in coming days, and he'll naturally have a chance to see action in multiple Cactus League games.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Luis Barrera: Visa issues resolved
Barrera has resolved his visa issues and is in Arizona, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports.
Barrera missed the start of spring training, but he'll now undergo intake testing prior to joining the team in camp. He could compete for a backup role in the outfield this spring after slashing .324/.365/.490 at Double-A Midland in 2018 and 2019.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Sergio Romo: Not yet throwing
Romo has yet to throw a bullpen session in spring training, but manager Bob Melvin confirmed Thursday it's by design and not indicative of any injury, Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Melvin adds the veteran reliever is one of several arms being built up slowly. The 37-year-old would seemingly have plenty of wiggle room in terms of preparation time, considering his body of work over an extended period. Romo is expected to fill a key later-inning relief role for a revamped Athletics bullpen that lost a veteran right-hander with a very similar profile in Joakim Soria this offseason, among other arms.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' A.J. Puk: Could face hitters in coming days
Puk could face hitters in live batting practice "pretty soon" according to manager Bob Melvin, Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The big lefty has already looked good in his early bullpen sessions as he rounds back into shape following another injury-marred season in 2020. Melvin's proclamation supports the notion Puk hasn't suffered any setbacks with his activity level thus far, and it therefore appears likely the team will test him by elevating him to live hitters soon.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Sean Manaea: Looks good after diligent offseason
Manaea is already looking more confident and efficient with his pre-delivery movement during early bullpen sessions after some targeted offseason training, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports.
The veteran southpaw went into the offseason with some momentum after going 4-1 with a 2.77 ERA over his final seven regular-season starts, and he got right to improving certain physical and mental aspects of his game. Manaea worked with a trainer on improving mobility and durability that strengthened his internal abductors, leading to what appears to be improved mechanics. The 29-year-old also put in time with mental performance coach and former college teammate Tyler Pazik to sharpen his confidence and killer instinct on the mound, a resource he plans to continue availing himself of during the regular season.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Ramon Laureano: Could lead off
Laureano is one of the top candidates to lead off for the Athletics this season, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports.
Marcus Semien and Tommy La Stella led off in 56 of Oakland's 60 games last season, but both left the team over the offseason. Laureano primarily hit second but did lead off on three occasions. He has the speed of a traditional leadoff man, but teams today are often more concerned with on-base ability in that spot. Laureano's track record there is more mixed, as his career .343 OBP is solid but far from elite. He's walked at a below-average 7.6 percent clip over the course of his career but did post a career-best 10.8 percent walk rate last season. Mark Canha, who doesn't have the same speed but does get on base at an elite rate, appears to be the other top candidate.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Mark Canha: Candidate to lead off
Canha is a leading candidate to bat first for the Athletics this season, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports.
Marcus Semien and Tommy La Stella led off in all but four games for the Athletics last season, but neither of them are on the team this year. Canha primarily batted fifth and never hit higher than third, though he does seem like a natural fit for the role. He doesn't have the speed of a traditional leadoff man but has the on-base ability that managers look for. He owns a 14.1 percent walk rate over the last two seasons, helping him to an elite .393 on-base percentage, a number that ranks eighth among qualified hitters over that stretch. If he does indeed lead off, he'll trade a few RBI for a few runs. More importantly he'd see a bump in total plate appearances, which would slightly boost his fantasy value.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Frankie Montas: Cleared to join teammates
Montas was cleared to join his teammates Thursday following a brief stay on the COVID-19 injured list, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports.
Montas tested positive for the virus prior to camp and missed the first few workouts. With Opening Day still over a month away, he should still have enough time to get up to full speed by the start of the season.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Jed Lowrie: Limited to DH duty
Lowrie (knee) won't take the field in the Athletics' first few Cactus League games but will get some at-bats as a designated hitter, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports.
A constant stream of injuries has derailed Lowrie's career over the last two seasons, limiting him to eight plate appearances in 2019 and none in 2020. The fact that he's still not ready to take the field isn't a good sign, but if he's at least able to hit, it will represent a step forward. Lowrie is only in camp on a minor-league deal and has plenty to prove in terms of his health if he's to win a roster spot heading into his age-37 season.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Mitch Moreland: Should see bulk of DH duties
Moreland is expected to see the bulk of his 2020 playing time at designated hitter and is trying to devise a spring training routine to help him acclimate to that role, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports. "It's definitely going to be different, so I'm kind of looking forward to camp to figure out how to transition into that a little bit better," Moreland said.
The 35-year-old certainly has the experience to accommodate the Athletics' needs, even if he still arguably boasts Gold Glove skills. Matt Olson, already a two-time winner of that honor, naturally will get the bulk of playing time at first base, leaving Moreland to rely on some of his past experience at designated hitter (66 total appearances) to get himself ready. Last season with the Padres, Moreland visualized the job as a series of pinch-hit opportunities on occasions when he served as the DH and Eric Hosmer was at first base.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Ka'ai Tom: Hobbled by oblique injury
Athletics manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday that Tom is dealing with an oblique injury that could sideline him for the first week of Cactus League play, Shayna Rubin of The San Jose Mercury News reports.
Based on Melvin's comments, Tom is likely dealing with a low-grade strain, so he should be able to steer clear of an extended absence. The injury will nonetheless deny the Rule 5 pick some opportunities to make an early impression in his new organization.... See More ... See Less
Athletics' Matt Olson: Motivated by 2020 struggles
Olson is intent on making up for a poor 2020 season and believes he identified several mechanical issues with his swing over the offseason, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports. "To put it bluntly, I stunk last year, in my opinion," Olson said. "There were definitely things wrong with the swing that I was going out there with every day. I don't think that represents in any way the caliber of player that I think that I am."
The slugging first baseman still demonstrated plenty of pop with 14 home runs and 19 extra-base hits overall across 245 plate appearances in 2020, but his .195 average and .310 on-base percentage left plenty to be desired. So, too, did his career-worst 31.4 percent strikeout rate, which Olson believes was largely the result of leaving his bat "too horizontal" in his setup, which led to issues with his timing when subsequently completing his swing. Olson worked with hitting coach Darren Bush via virtual sessions during the offseason to address that and other issues, and consequently, the 26-year-old heads into spring training confident he can return to the caliber of play that led to a .267/.351/.545 line with 36 home runs and 91 RBI in 2019.... See More ... See Less
2020 Team Statistical Rankings
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