A's notebook: Sizemore, allergies, the Oscars


A's notebook: Sizemore, allergies, the Oscars

Scene Setter: There are a lot of red, swollen eyes this morning at Papago Park. No, this isn't a result of Moneyball being shut out at the Oscars, but rather the aftermath of one of the worst allergy days in Arizona. From Bob Melvin, to media members and positions players, folks in the desert are combating running noses and itchy eyes, but it didn't stop the A's from smiling pretty.Say Cheese: Players arrived at Phoenix Municipal at 7 a.m. for their team photo. The newest and youngest to the Green and Gold, also had individual shots taken, in hopes they'll make the cut and that these pics will find their way to the Coliseum JumboTron for Opening Week.
Missing in Action: Scott Sizemore
Scott Sizemore reported to the hospital Monday morning for an MRI on his knee. Right now, the team has labeled it a 'left knee sprain' pending results. Sizemore went down Saturday, in the team's first full squad workout during fielding drills. He had to be helped off the field, as he could put no weight on the knee. I saw him later that day at the facility on crutches.The Aftermath: With the A's projected third baseman shelved at the moment, Melvin has some thinking to do when it comes to the hot corner. Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard will still be used as utilities, while getting looks at thir4d base. And backup catcher Josh Donaldson will exclusively get time behind the plate and at 3rd. I talked with Melvin early last week about Donaldson when I observed him taking grounders the first few days of camp, and Melvin explained how versatile Donaldson is, saying it makes him very valuable in this evaluation process.Melvin expanded on Donaldson this morning, commenting on how impressed he is with his bat, and noting that the 26-year-old has a little extra 'bounce in his step' the past couple of days, recognizing the opportunity at-hand. Donaldson spent extra time at the ballpark yesterday, and was one of the first in the cages this morning. 0 for 6: Not the results the A's had hoped for, as their historic win-streak played out on the big screen in front of a national audience. Up for six Academy Awards, Brad Pitt's Moneyball and portrayal of Billy Beane's underdog ways, struck out at the Oscars last night. Melvin admitted he was disappointed. Perhaps even more upsetting was the fact that for the first time ever, Melvin watched the entire awards show all the way through, in hopes of seeing a cameo of his boss and good friend, but to no avail. Beane was spotted though, during the best actor introductions of the broadcast. Beane attended the ceremony with his wife and eldest daughter, and will return to the team in the next 24 hours.

A's lineup: Alonso returns for opener against Marlins

A's lineup: Alonso returns for opener against Marlins

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Marlins-A's coverage begins at 6pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

After missing four games, Yonder Alonso is back in the lineup as the A's begin a series against the Marlins Tuesday night.

Miami Marlins:
1. Dee Gordon (L) 2B
2. Giancarlo Stanton (R) RF
3. Christian Yelich (L) CF
4. Marcell Ozuna (R) DH
5. Justin Bour (L) 1B
6. J.T. Realmuto (R) C
7. Derek Dietrich (L) 3B
8. J.T. Riddle (L) SS
9. Ichiro Suzuki (L) LF
Jose Urena -- RHP

Oakland A's:
1. Matt Joyce (L) RF
2. Mark Canha (R) CF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) DH
7. Stephen Vogt (L) C
8. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
9. Adam Rosales (R) SS
Jesse Hahn -- RHP

Pinder's potential 'coming to fruition' in chance with A's

Pinder's potential 'coming to fruition' in chance with A's

OAKLAND — With so much attention focused on who might be the next wave of A’s infielders coming up from the minors, Chad Pinder is making quite a statement in the present.

Pinder enjoyed another big day at the plate Sunday with a two-run homer and a double in the A’s 12-3 loss to Boston. That came on the heels of Saturday’s 460-foot home run that made him just the fifth player to reach the second deck just above the Coliseum’s first level of luxury suites.

For fans around the country who might have seen that mammoth blast on highlight shows, it likely was their first introduction to the 25-year-old Virginia native. However, those within the organization witnessed Pinder’s steady rise through the farm system since he was drafted as a sandwich pick between the second and third rounds of the 2013 draft out of Virginia Tech.

“I don’t think it’s a shock what he’s doing,” said A’s designated hitter Ryon Healy, who was part of that same draft class. “I think he’s always been that caliber of player. He’s always had that potential and it’s coming to fruition right now and it’s really fun to watch.”

Pinder, who made his big league debut in September but began this season with Triple-A Nashville, is hitting .286 over 21 games with Oakland. He’s homered in four of his past eight, and he provided a boost over the weekend as the A’s took three of four from the Red Sox.

The right-handed hitting Pinder was in the lineup all four games — with the Red Sox starting lefties on the mound for the final three contests, the A’s stacked their lineup with righties, giving Pinder a stretch of consistent playing time.

He’s provided enough of a spark that he warrants consideration to remain in the lineup even though the A’s are scheduled to face right-handers during their two-game series with the Miami Marlins that begins Tuesday at the Coliseum.

Granted, it’s not the biggest sample size either way, but Pinder is actually hitting better against righties (.348, 8-for-23) than he is against lefties (.231, 6-for-26). Four of his five home runs also have come against right-handers.

Asked whether Pinder could draw more starts against right-handers, A’s manager Bob Melvin replied: “Potentially, yeah. You want to try to stay consistent with the lineups you have, but if you have a hot hand, you look for ways to get him in there.”

Working in Pinder’s advantage is the versatility he’s shown since being recalled from Nashville on April 16. The A’s always knew Pinder could handle second, shortstop or third as needed, but he’s also shown to be a capable option in right field with a strong arm for the outfield.

Pinder was the Texas League (Double-A) Player of the Year in 2015 and ranked No. 7 on Baseball America’s preseason list of A’s prospects. He’s making the most of his time in the majors.

On the minds of many Oakland fans is when a couple more infield prospects who are impressing at Triple-A — middle infielder Franklin Barreto and third baseman Matt Chapman — might get their first crack in the bigs.

Barreto, ranked as the No. 25 overall prospect in the majors in Baseball America’s most recent ratings, is hitting .311 with six homers and is tied with Matt Olson for Nashville’s RBI lead at 27. Chapman, ranked the 95th overall prospect, missed two weeks earlier this season with a wrist injury but has shown signs of heating up offensively. He’s hitting just .237 but has eight homers and 15 RBI.

Two other Nashville players, who have both seen time with the A’s, are putting up noteworthy numbers: Olson, a first baseman/outfielder, is hitting .276 with 10 homers and 27 RBI, and corner infielder/outfielder Renato Nunez is tied for the Pacific Coast League lead with 12 homers to go with a .245 average and 25 RBI.

The A’s are working with Barreto and Chapman to hone their approach at the plate and control the strike zone. General manager David Forst maintains the A’s will be patient with both, noting that Pinder benefited last year from a full season at Triple-A before his promotion.

“The calendar needs to turn over,” Forst said. “They need at-bats. Matt missed a couple weeks with the injury, but they just need more days and more at-bats. We don’t have an ‘X’ on the calendar anywhere where this is the day. We’ll know when it’s time.”