MESA -- Brett Anderson didn't do anything to put his Opening Day start in jeopardy on Thursday. Anderson tossed two scoreless innings and allowed one hit, while striking out a batter.
"He looked reasonably well his first time out," A's manager Bob Melvin said after their 5-3 loss to the Cubs. "We'll continue to say he's the opening day starter."
Anderson threw all of his pitches but focused primarily on fastballs and sinkers.
Nakajima Finds Comfort:
A's shortstop Hiro Nakajima went 1-for-3 at the plate on Thursday. He has now collected a hit in two consecutive games after going hitless in his first two Cactus League starts.
His single on Thursday came against a pitcher he is pretty familiar with -- fellow countryman Kyuji Fujikawa.
"I have faced Fujikawa on several occasions, so I had a nice comfort when I went up to the plate," Nakajima said through interpreter Hiroo Nishi. "It just feels good to get that hit over here in the United States,"
Nakajima has six strikeouts so far this spring and he made his first error as well. It's too early to be alarmed, as the stat sheet may be a little misleading. Nakajima dropped a ball tossed by Scott Sizemore in the fourth inning on a play at second base, but it was a matter of miscommunication.
"I think [Sizemore] probably lost sight of where he was," Melvin said. "All he has to do is maybe take a half a step and tag the base, if not, you have to know where the shortstop is and you can just throw to first too."
Nakajima said he was expecting Sizemore to throw the ball to first base on the play.
Veterans Get Work:
Bartolo Colon got his first work of the spring. He tossed two innings and allowed three runs -- one earned -- giving up five hits and striking out four batters. There's no radar gun at Hohokam Park, but based on the strikeouts, you'd assume his velocity was there.
"All we do is make a play at second base and he probably doesn't give up as many runs," Melvin said. "Strike-thrower again, used a couple more sliders and change-ups than we've seen. He looked pretty similar to what we saw before out of him."
Hideki Okajima got in another scoreless inning of work. He allowed one hit, one walk, and struck out two batters.
Michael Choice stayed hot on Thursday. He went 2-for-4 with a stand-up RBI triple and a ground-rule double. He is hitting .500 with one home run and five RBI. He started in left field and moved over to center field when Coco Crisp left the game.
"He continues to impress," Melvin said. "Righties, lefties, it doesn't make a difference to him right now. Breaking balls, fastballs, he seems to be on everything. He's really making quite an impression."
Keeping Up With The McCarthys:
Now with the Diamondbacks, Brandon McCarthy took the mound for the first time since the horrifying incident in which he was struck in the head by a line drive that fractured his skull and left him needing emergency brain surgery.
On Wednesday the right-handed pitcher threw two innings and struck out four batters. He allowed one run and three hits.
"I texted him, 'What are you Nolan Ryan now?'" Brett Anderson said. "It's awesome for him to get back on the mound. As much as he probably doesn't want to admit it, there's still some hesitancy and some jitters."
-- Crisp was originally in the lineup for Wednesday, but was scratched. He started on Thursday and left the game after one at-bat. After the game Melvin said that he wasn't going to bat Crisp right-handed because he had some neck soreness.
-- Michael Ynoa threw another bullpen on Wednesday and is expected to throw one more before he faces hitters in live batting practice.
"The ball just screams out of his hands," Melvin said. "You could see why the organization invested what they invested in him."
-- Grant Balfour threw 35 pitches on flat ground on Wednesday. He didn't have any issues and will see the doctor Thursday for a check up. The doctor will determine when he will be able to take the next step and start throwing off the mound.
-- Chris Young took batting practice and ran at full speed on Wednesday. He will do it again on Thursday. Trainer Nick Paparesta says that Young felt really good after his drills yesterday.