Editor's note: The video above is from June 16, 2014.
MESA, Ariz. -– Here’s a roundup of Monday morning notes as the A’s prepare for their final three days of camp in the desert …
--Oakland has 37 players left in camp, and Melvin said all of them except left-hander Sean Manaea will head north and be available for the Bay Bridge Series against the Giants. This is typical for the A’s, as they always take extra reinforcements to provide depth for that final three-game exhibition series. The regulars won’t play a full game on all three days, so there will be plenty of substitutions throughout those games.
The A’s have to pare down to a final 25-man roster by Sunday, in advance of next Monday’s regular-season opener. They typically make all of their final cuts after Saturday’s exhibition finale.
--Manaea is staying in Arizona because he’s dealt with some minor groin soreness, but he can’t be ailing that badly because the young lefty is set to throw off the mound today to see how he feels. If all goes well, Melvin said Manaea will pitch in a minor league game at a still to-be-determined date. But considering Manaea’s history of hip and groin issues -– not to mention his status as the A’s prized pitching prospect -- Melvin has talked to the pitcher about being smart with things.
“I told him too, you gotta be honest with us,” Melvin said. “It can affect not just your performance but put other areas (of the body) in jeopardy if you’re trying to pitch around it. So he’s cognizant of that.”
If Manaea is feeling good enough to pitch in a minor league game and stay somewhat on a normal schedule, I suppose he could still be a consideration for the 25-man roster. But that’s an extremely remote chance as I see it. In the A’s ideal world, everybody in the projected five-man rotation locks down their spots and Manaea heads to Triple-A Nashville to get a bit more experience and be ready when called upon (and that call could come early this season).
--It’s pretty remarkable that third base prospect Matt Chapman is still with the big league club and will participate in the Bay Bridge Series. This marks the first Major League camp for the 22-year-old Chapman, who spent all of last season with Single-A Stockton. When spring training began, the smart money said he would be among the early roster cuts. But his play -– with the bat and glove -– has warranted an extended stay.
Melvin said he’ll start at third tomorrow against Cubs star Jake Arrieta. Sonny Gray goes for the A’s, by the way. Definitely a marquee Cactus League matchup.
--Felix Doubront will pitch in a minor league game Tuesday to get his work in. And if you map out an every-fifth-day throwing schedule for him, Doubront would conveniently be on turn to be the No. 5 starter once the regular season begins, if he’s needed in that role. Jesse Hahn takes the ball this afternoon against Cleveland, looking to nail down that role for himself.
-- Melvin had words of praise for outfielder Jake Smolinski, who was optioned to Triple-A on Sunday.
“I think Jake Smolinski is a very good player, and I think he has the potential to be an everyday player in the Major Leagues, and I told him that,” Melvin said. “… He’s a good athlete, plays both corners in the outfield. It’s all about him finding that confidence every day and getting through the tough times. He can have some ups and downs, he can be really hot and sometimes he can be really cold. One of these days he’s gonna figure it out and I think he’s gonna be an everyday player.”