MESA, Ariz. –- Even with 12 seasons as a Major League manager under his belt, Bob Melvin still feels the anticipation for the start of full-squad workouts.
After five days of watching A’s pitchers and catchers shake off the winter rust, Melvin gets his first look at his 2016 team on the field together Friday.
“You spend the first five days just doing the pitcher and catcher stuff, and now everybody comes together,” Melvin said Thursday afternoon.
“It’s the true first day that everybody’s excited about, starting with the meeting and getting out on the field with everybody and getting your first look at all the guys that are in camp. It’s a day we target and look forward to.”
[STIGLICH: Mark Ellis set to return to A's as spring instructor]
Melvin didn’t divulge what the theme of his speech to players would be, but the smart money says he calls on the services of team impressionist/comedian Stephen Vogt to provide some comic relief. Last year, Vogt broke out his impersonation of motivational speaker Matt Foley, a character made famous by Chris Farley, to explain MLB rule changes to the team.
Will there be an encore?
“There’s always the potential for that,” Melvin said. “You have a strength, you may as well use it, right?”
Team co-owner Lew Wolff will attend the morning meeting. Last spring, he was introduced with his own walk-out song.
HEALTH UPDATE: Jarrod Parker took the mound for the second time in camp and looked a bit sharper than his first bullpen session Monday.
Parker, healthy after a two-year absence due to elbow injuries, admitted being nervous Monday.
“I thought he was a little more relaxed today,” Melvin said. “He looked a lot smoother.”
Based on his every-third-day throwing schedule, Parker would be in line to potentially pitch in Wednesday’s intrasquad game, a day before the A’s play their Cactus League opener against the Angels in Tempe.
LIGHTER SIDE: To mark the final day of pitcher and catcher-only workouts, the A’s had some fun with a game of “Rag Ball,” with players split up into Team Young and Team Emerson, named after pitching coach Curt Young and bullpen coach Scott Emerson. It was basically a competition involving pitchers’ fielding drills, using softer balls than regular baseballs.
“There was a lot of banter back and forth, which we try to create on a day like this,” Melvin said.
For the record, Team Emerson defeated Team Young.