Phoenix, Ariz -- School's back in session. Today marked day one of pitchers and catchers reporting to the 2012 Oakland A's camp - here are a few observations from Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
PLAYER OF THE DAY: He may still be several months away from returning to the mound, but at 20-25 pounds lighter, Brett Anderson looks game-ready - and his Skip has taken notice. Bob Melvin said Anderson has "progressed beautifully" rehabbing from Tommy John surgery last summer. Melvin said with Anderson's new stature, he's even taken on a new persona, "he's more energetic, confident, vocal." And Melvin suspects Anderson will be more agile as well when he takes the mound for drills, although he isn't expected to return to game action until August.
NOTABLE: Bob Melvin told the handful of media members that were present for his 1st First 'Address' of the Spring, that there are "...some questions he had to shy away from," because he's not sure what the roster will look like, hinting that the team may still be doing some wheeling and dealing. "As we've shown this off-season, we're not afraid" to make moves, Melvin said.REWIND: A's sign Cespedes
QUOTABLE: When I asked Dallas Braden how hard it was to watch some of his friends be traded this off-season, he told me, "It's tough because you invest a lot of emotion, a lot of time with teammates. You spend more time with these guys than you do your own damn reflection sometimes." He went on to explain "as a human," losing these guys was "a tough pill to swallow," but "as a player," he's looking forward to this time with the new guys. CACTUS-LEAGUE SNAPSHOT: Want to be like Mike... Michael Taylor and Michael Choice arrived at the facility this morning, six days before their actual 'report day'. All decked out in green workout gear, the two went across the street to Papago for an impromptu workout, only to be told it was coaches only at the other facility.
LOOK AHEAD: Speaking of which,will Manny Ramirez sport the green and gold? I asked current A's players their thoughts on Ramirez joining the Oakland ranks, and the overall reaction was nothing, but positive.Michael Taylor explained to me how Manny was one of his favorite guys to watching growing up, and said guess he'll just "sit back and watch and learn something from him (if he joins to the A's) both on and off the field.""You talk about his ability first, his ability to perform...he's easily one of the hardest workers at his craft," said Dallas Braden, "When you talk about the financials of the game, it makes sense for the organization to pick him up at a low cost.""I know Manny pretty well," Jonny Gomes told me, "I worked out with him last year...one thing you can't bend is time so only time will tell what's up."