Latest news and notes from A’s 2021 spring training camp
The Oakland A’s are now several days into spring training, and on Monday the full position player contingent will join the pitchers and catchers already in progress. If you’re just tuning in from the long winter, here’s what you missed since camp began last Wednesday:
- Roster, schedule, news from first day
- Sean Murphy out with collapsed lung
- Frankie Montas goes on COVID injured list
Let’s check in to see how things are going!
Matt Chapman recovery
The team’s best player missed the end of last season due to hip surgery, so of course one of the biggest questions facing the club is how his recovery is going. All sounds good so far.
“I didn’t see anything different,” said manager Bob Melvin after hitting Chapman some grounders, via insider Martin Gallegos. “We gave him a few balls and I didn’t make him go too far. But he’s eager. It’s going to be more trying to hold him back than trying to get him ready.”
Some Matt Chapman action via A’s IG account. pic.twitter.com/DXXS4fFgCb
— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) February 18, 2021
The plan has always been for the third baseman to be ready for Opening Day, though he “could DH early on in Cactus League play,” per Gallegos, and the team will of course be cautious with his health, adds Gallegos in his full writeup.
Sean Murphy in camp
As noted in the intro, catcher Sean Murphy is out after having surgery for a collapsed lung. It sounds like he’s OK and should be ready for the season, but still, every step toward that best-case conclusion is nice to see.
Catcher Sean Murphy is in A’s camp and doing his physical today. Bob Melvin said Murphy, who had surgery a few weeks ago for a collapsed lung, told him: “I feel great right now.'”
— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) February 21, 2021
Murphy also has a new teammate backing him up on the catching depth chart, in the recently acquired Aramis Garcia.
Dany Jimenez praise
The A’s suddenly have a loaded bullpen, with a list of names including Rosenthal, Diekman, Petit, Romo, Kolarek, Turley, and Wendelken, among others. But they also still have a Rule 5 draft pick in play, who must either make the team or be sent back from whence he came.
Can Dany Jimenez crack the roster and stay in Oakland? Here’s what Melvin had to say about him on Wednesday, via Alex Coffey of The Athletic:
“I was impressed as much with his breaking ball today as I was with his fastball,” Melvin said. “He’s got a really good live arm. He’s an upper-velocity guy, but he looked — at least today — that he had maybe even better command of his breaking ball than he did his fastball. And that’s kind of rare for early in camp, especially for a guy that you know is new to a team trying to impress in bullpens.”
In his brief MLB cup of coffee last summer, Jimenez topped out around 95 mph on Statcast, but reportedly he can reach as high as 98 mph.
Reliever Sergio Romo is officially on the A’s, as his signing was announced and he has arrived in camp.
Sergio Romo says he had other teams interested, but was hoping the A’s would call with an offer in FA: “The opportunity to win now wasn’t necessarily with every organization that called me. That’s why I was asking about the A’s. This organization has a chance to win.”
— Shayna Rubin (@ShaynaRubin) February 20, 2021
A bit of video
Sergio Romo answers the all-important question: Will he continue walking out to “El Mechón” in Oakland? pic.twitter.com/LUBDlLIm1g
— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) February 20, 2021
Romo will wear jersey number 54 in Oakland.
SS Elvis Andrus will wear number 17. First base coach Mike Aldrete switches to number 10.
— MLB Jersey Numbers (@NumbersMLB) February 21, 2021
Schlitter is still in the A’s org, and in camp this spring, but he’s number 99 now.
New reliever Nik Turley will wear number 23.
Misc: Luzardo, Soderstrom, Welch bench
A few more assorted notes:
- “My expectation of Jesús [Luzardo] is to be a top-of-the-line starter, and that probably starts this year. Last year he hit some speed bumps that I think were new to him, and he’s going to be better for that this year.” — Melvin, via Gallegos (more details in full writeup)
- “I remember seeing Tyler as a little runt with long blonde hair running around with his brother. Now he has the same uniform as me. He just seems like he fits in. He’s a pretty confident kid.” — pitching prospect Daulton Jefferies, regarding recent 1st-round draft pick Tyler Soderstrom, via Gallegos
- “Hat’s off to the guys who did the signings. They did really well the past week. We absolutely killed it. All the additions that we have are absolutely gasoline to help us out, for sure, in every aspect of the matter. … The bullpen’s back in action.” — reliever J.B. Wendelken on Sunday, via Alex Espinoza of NBCS
- “We haven’t talked about a six-man rotation,” A’s general manager David Forst said this week. “That said, there are going to be a lot of variables.” — GM David Forst, via Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle
- Normally the spring pressers take place in the dugout of Hohokam, where Melvin sits on the Bob Welch Memorial Bench.
Since Bob Melvin can’t sit on his usual bench honoring Bob Welch during Spring, he brought Welch’s frame to Zoom: “I can’t sit on my Bob Welch bench, which I get superstitious about. He’s had pretty good success here the last few years so we rolled him in in a different fashion.” pic.twitter.com/ZDGc1SXrf7
— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) February 20, 2021
And finally, some pics and vids.
Things are heating up in the desert pic.twitter.com/H1TfXvg16v
— Oakland A’s (@Athletics) February 21, 2021
Wonderful sound combined with the wonderful sight of Puk throwing
First Cactus League game is in a week!