SAN FRANCISCO –- These final three exhibitions may not count in the standings, but A’s manager Bob Melvin feels the Bay Bridge Series has true value for his team.
It gives the platoon-heavy A’s a chance to get acclimated to how the regular season will go, with several players swapping in and out of the lineup based on whether the opponent starts a righty or a lefty. Melvin said five or so players who aren’t in Thursday’s night’s series-opening lineup will be starting Friday.
“These three games we need to see how all our pieces fit,” Melvin said. “We don’t run the same nine guys out there. We mix and match. We’ll have a lineup for lefties and a lineup for righties. We have in-game moves we make. And for the guys that haven’t been here before, it can be a new experience.”
[STIGLICH: A's 2016 projected 25-man roster]
It’s also a chance for the A’s to turn the page from a Cactus League season in which they went 11-15-3. Regardless of what happens in their three games against the Giants, the A’s will finish with their first losing record in spring training since 2011. However, you’ll remember that last season Oakland finished with the Major Leagues’ best spring record and wound up finishing with the American League’s worst record in the regular season.
“You know, we did some good things and we struggled in some areas,” Melvin said of the Cactus League. “Now when we cut it down to (fewer) guys, you kind of find out who you are. There’s always a little bit of transition for us. We had some turnover. We see how the pieces fit. This is a good segue into season the season. It’s a different atmosphere.”
Center fielder Coco Crisp, who is sitting out his third consecutive game with hamstring tightness, was set to test his leg with a full slate of pregame activity. If he comes out of it well, Melvin said Crisp would start Friday night in center field.
Right-hander Henderson Alvarez, getting closer to a return from shoulder surgery, will throw off the mound Saturday and is scheduled to face hitters for the first time Wednesday.