TEMPE, Ariz. –- Along with logging his first game in an A’s uniform Thursday, Chris Coghlan began building his scouting report.
The first pitcher he faced in Oakland’s Cactus League opener was Angels ace Garrett Richards, someone he’s sure to see plenty of in the regular season. Then in the bottom of the first, he watched Angels star Mike Trout knock out the first of his three consecutive hits.
The A’s lost 8-2 at Tempe Diablo Stadium, but the value for the newcomers in Oakland’s lineup was getting an introductory look at a division rival that pops up 19 times on the regular-season schedule. Coghlan, acquired from the Cubs last week, started at second base Thursday but will see action at several different positions this season.
“I don’t need to see Trout,” Coghlan said jokingly. “But we’ll face Richards. I’ve only seen him in spring training. Everybody’s different when you strap it on and it really counts. But it’s good to just be able to see movement and different things. For me, that’s the transition of going NL to AL. … Being able to see some of those guys is gonna be beneficial for me.”
The two guys hitting behind him in the batting order, left fielder Khris Davis (who DH’ed Thursday) and first baseman Yonder Alonso, also were acquired from NL clubs via trades, so they’re trying to accumulate as much information as possible too.
“I think anytime you get a feel for a guy, you definitely have to keep it in the back of your head,” Alonso said. “Not only (Richards), but (Angels reliever Al) Albuquerque. He’s going to be in the mix as well. Just like K.D. and all these guys, we’re all talking in the dugout.”
The Angels erased the A’s 2-1 lead with two in the third off reliever Ryan Doolittle. Then Trout doubled home a run during a two-run fourth off R.J. Alvarez. The 2014 AL MVP also made a running catch to rob Billy Burns in the top of the first.
“I faced him my rookie year in San Diego, and all I can remember is him going off on us,” Alonso said. “Trout is Trout. He’s gonna do what he’s gonna do. Hopefully you can contain him. I’m looking forward to not only himself, but Albert (Pujols), (Yunel) Escobar, who’s a pretty good player. I saw him in the NL. “They have a good squad, but so do we.”
CAMP BATTLE: Lefty Eric Surkamp, a non-roster pitcher who started for the A’s, gave up one run on four hits over two innings. Nothing great, nothing terrible. The good thing for Surkamp was he didn’t let the first inning get out of hand after he loaded the bases with no outs. C.J. Cron hit a sacrifice fly, but Geovany Soto grounded into a double play to keep it a 1-0 game.
“Although he gave up a run there, you’re also looking to see how a guy responds when he has some adversity,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
[STIGLICH: A's roll dice with well-traveled lefty Rich Hill]
Ryan Dull also received praise from Melvin. Dull gave up singles on his first two hitters in the seventh and had runners on second and third with one out, but he struck out Alex Yarbrough and Kaleb Cowart to keep the Angels off the board. Dull is fighting for what is likely just one bullpen spot up for grabs. Felix Doubront and Alvarez are among the others in the mix.
Andrew Lambo, who faces steep odds to win an outfield job given the additions of Davis and Coghlan, had two hits, including an RBI single.
PROSPECT UPDATE: It was an adventurous eighth inning for shortstop Chad Pinder. He nearly made a terrific diving grab of Ji-Man Choi’s liner but had it deflect off his glove for a two-run single. On the throw home, Choi broke for second and Pinder let the throw from catcher Bryan Anderson ricochet off his glove. Quintin Berry followed with a sharp grounder that got past Pinder for an error. But Pinder ended on a strong note, making an on-the-money relay throw home to complete a 9-6-2 putout to end the inning.
In Friday’s split-squad game at Mesa, top pitching prospect Sean Manaea draws the start against the Colorado Rockies. So far, Manaea’s electric stuff on the mound has made an impression, but so has his energetic personality.
“Usually guys will get a little nervous the closer you get to the first game. The less you’ll hear and see them,” Melvin said. “But not him. My guess is he’ll be the same tomorrow as he is today.”
ODDS AND ENDS: Lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski delivered a three-up three-down sixth inning with one strikeout. “He’s been telling me all spring he can get righties out,” Melvin said. “He said you don’t have to wait for the lefties. He showed good movement on the heater. Obviously he has a good slider. He threw the ball well.” … Jarrod Parker threw a morning bullpen session back at Hohokam Stadium and came out of it well. “When he pitches in a game, I’m not sure yet,” Melvin said. “But I know he feels good, and we’re kind of moving along with getting him stretched out a little more as far as pitches.” … Doubront, whose ability to start or relieve could serve him well in the battle for the last bullpen spot, takes the ball in Friday’s other split-squad game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale.