Friday brought me to remodeled Hohokam Stadium for the Colorado Rockies at the Oakland Athletics. The former spring home of the Cubs was recently remodeled and now houses the A’s. In their home opener for the spring, Bert Campaneris and Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers threw out the ceremonial first pitch (see photo).
My friend Lawr Michaels introduced me to former Rangers manager Ron Washington, now a coach with the A’s. Washington’s keys to success for the club this season are managing innings pitched for their young arms and improved infield defense behind a ground ball-oriented staff.
I also spoke with a legendary Arizona-based scout for St. Louis, Marty Keough, who was of course, at the game scouting for the Cardinals. The former MLB outfielder was named MLB’s West Coast Scout of the Year in 2012.
In terms of ex-Cardinals in the lineup, first baseman Mark Reynolds was at cleanup for Colorado with infielder Daniel Descalso among the available reserves on the travel roster. Relievers John Axford and Marc Rzepczynski are on the A’s roster but were not among the scheduled pitchers this day. Oakland featured a split squad, with the rest of their team at the Diamondbacks.
The most impressive arm of the day was Oakland starter Sean Manaea. In two innings, the lefty prospect allowed just one hit and fanned three.
Righty Shane Carle started for the Rockies and yielded a double and an RBI single by Danny Valencia. After Carle walked the first two batters in the second, the A’s plated four on four hits. That led to the first in-frame pitcher replacement of the spring, after 1 2/3 innings.
Carle’s replacement, a minor leaguer named Konner Wade, gave up three more on one play. Major League center fielder Gerardo Parra lost track of a long blast off the wall in center by former Brewers outfielder Khris Davis that cleared the bases. Interestingly, yesterday’s star offensive player, Milwaukee catcher Jacob Nottingham, was part of the take the Brewers received for Davis in trade recently.
2014 Memphis pitcher Angel Castro, who made his MLB debut with the 2015 A’s, struck out the side in his inning of work, the fourth.
Following the flood of replacements, the 3:09 game ended after Oakland tacked on single runs in each of the last three innings in front of a listed attendance of 4,535.
Parra and Oakland’s number three hitter, outfielder Josh Reddick, each had two hits and a walk. Reynolds singled in three at-bats.
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