OAKLAND — Told about the comparisons that young Cuban outfielder Lazaro Armenteros is getting to Yoenis Cespedes and Frank Thomas, A’s manager Bob Melvin responded:
“We’ll take either.”
You can’t blame him for that stance. But Melvin spoke seriously when discussing the haul of prospects that the A’s signed Saturday, the first day of the 2016-17 international signing period.
Armenteros, a 17-year-old outfielder ranked the No. 4 international prospect of this year’s class by mlb.com, headlined a group of five prospects the A’s signed. The others were shortstops Marcos Brito and Yerdel Vargas, center fielder Kevin Richards and third baseman George Bell. Those four are all 16-year-olds from the Dominican Republic.
Bell is the son of former outfielder George Bell, who slugged 265 home runs in the majors and won the 1987 MVP award with the Toronto Blue Jays. Melvin played against the elder Bell during his own big league career as a catcher.
“George was as prime-time a player as you get,” Melvin said. “A guy you didn’t want up with a game on the line. He was quite the competitor.”
Melvin said he expected Rich Hill to be on a similar pitch count Saturday as Sean Manaea was in his first start off the disabled list. Manaea threw 83 pitches against the Giants on Wednesday. Hill is making his first major league start since May 29, after missing more than a month with a strained groin.