Bay Area Baseball

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March 4, 2013
A's Notes: Straily sees progress, Sizemore catches a break, Balfour throws a 'pen

PHOENIX -- A's right-hander Dan Straily finds himself in an in-between phase at this early point in camp. Like everyone, he's using spring training to build stamina and hone pitches. But he's also competing for a spot in the A's rotation, which makes it tougher to use his outings to experiment or work on a particular aspect of his game.

Straily seemed to be talking along those lines after his outing Monday against the Angels, in which he pitched 2 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits. He said he felt he was locating his fastball better than in his first start, for one thing, but also mentioned a curveball that he left up and that was hit for a double.

"That's a pitch I wouldn't normally throw in that situation, but it's something I'm working on," Straily said. "It might be time to forget about trying stuff out and just try to work on what I have."

Manager Bob Melvin said he thought Straily "pitched better than the numbers" Monday. A questionable call went against him in the first inning when Mike Trout doubled to lead off the game, then was called safe advancing to third on a grounder to shortstop despite Josh Donaldson appearing to put a tag down in time.

Howie Kendrick followed with a single to score Trout but Straily limited the damage in the inning, retiring the next three hitters in order.

"I thought overall his stuff was good," Melvin said.

Straily mentioned twice that he felt good about the way he located his fastball inside against lefties. He said that has always been one of the last pitches to come around for him in spring and he wants to make sure it's there when the season starts.

"They weren't quite quality strikes, they were just strikes," Straily said. "But I'll figure it out."

* A couple of positive news items on the injury front. An X-ray on infielder Scott Sizemore's left hand showed no broken bones Monday, a day after Sizemore was hit by a pitch on the back of the hand and left the game after having trouble gripping a bat.

Sizemore said he probably won't play the next couple of days while he tries to "get that swelling and inflammation out of" the hand. He was wearing a protective wrap Monday morning but said the pain wasn't too bad.

"Extremely relieved," said Sizemore, who missed the 2012 season due to a knee injury he suffered on the first day of spring training workouts. "Definitely don't need any broken bones or serious injuries at this point."

The A's have a day off Wednesday. Melvin said it's "unlikely" Sizemore will play before Thursday but didn't rule it out.

Closer Grant Balfour, meanwhile, threw off a mound for the second time since having arthroscopic knee surgery Feb. 14. He said he threw 35 to 40 pitches and that the knee "feels fine."

"Now it's just getting the ball to pop out of my hand," Balfour said. "I'm not even thinking about my knee so much. Just thinking about pitches."

Balfour said he plans to throw another bullpen session Wednesday and doesn't have a timetable for facing live hitters.

* The A's did the bulk of their scoring in their 13-5 win Monday over the Angels in the late innings, after their starters left the game. Shane Peterson contributed with an RBI triple and is now 10-for-23 this spring with seven extra-base hits.

"He's making as big an impression as anybody here in camp," Melvin said.

Melvin was particularly happy for catcher Ryan Ortiz, a non-roster invitee who was the only position player in camp without an at-bat. Ortiz came up in the eighth inning and hit an RBI single.

"You feel good about guys like that," Melvin said.

* Reliever Sean Doolittle made his second spring appearance and struck out the side in the fourth, retiring three left-handed hitters.

* Yoenis Céspedes singled in the fourth for his first hit of spring training, snapping an 0-for-12 start.

* Catcher John Jaso is ostensibly going to be facing a lot of right-handed pitching this season as the lefty half of the A's catching platoon (with Derek Norris). But Jaso's three-run triple Monday came against Angels left-hander Nick Maronde. Melvin said it's still important Jaso gets some at-bats against lefties.

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Email: mkawahara@sacbee.com.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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