If you're playing beyond the regular season as a professional baseball player, it generally means one of three things.1) You're new to the pro game with much to learn.2) You've been around for some time but haven't learned (or shown) enough, so you need to stay on your grind and try to open some eyes to ensure an invite to spring training the following year.3) You're what those inside the game affectionately call a "yard rats" -- someone who loves the game with such passion you can never get enough.A's outfield prospect Michael Choice is a combination of Nos. 1 and 3, and his talent level is such you don't often find in yard rats. A 21-year-old center fielder selected out of the University of Texas-Arlington with the 10th overall pick in the 2010 draft, Choice appears to have quite a steep learning curve, too.Among the 20 or so Oakland farmhand putting in organized overtime this offseason, Choice is -- by far -- enjoying the most success.Choice, who belted 30 home runs with 82 RBIs, a .376 on-base percentage, 28 doubles and a .916 slugging percentage while batting .285 for the Single-A Stockton Ports this season, hasn't cooled off a bit while playing in the desert sun for Phoenix of the Arizona Fall League. In 15 games and 39 official at-bats through Wednesday, Choice was batting at a .359 clip and a .444 OBP, five homers, three doubles and nine RBIs.Another of Oakland's top prospects, 24-year-old shortstop-turned-oufielder Grant Green, also plays for the AFL's Desert Dogs. Selected 13th overall out of USC in the 2009 draft, Green batted .291 with a .343 OBP and 43 extra-base hits at Double-A Midland this season, and through Wednesday he was batting .276 with a .317 OBP, four doubles, a triple, two homers, eight RBIs and 12 runs scored in 14 games in the AFL.Also playing in the AFL for Oakland are shortstop Dusty Coleman, catcher Ryan Ortiz, and pitchers Anthony Capra, Andrew Carignan, Murphy Smith and Tyson Ross.Ross, a 6-foot-6 righty out of Cal who spent part of the past two seasons with the A's but missed most of last season with an oblique injury and shoulder issues, has made four appearances for the Desert Dogs, allowing four runs on 10 hits and two walks while striking out eight over eight innings.Another Athletics who spent time in the bigs this year, first baseman Brandon Allen, is playing in the Dominican Winter League, batting .115 through his first 10 games, while utilityman Adam Rosales, who was limited by injuries to 24 games with Oakland this season, has played in seven games in Mexico. Catcher Eliezer Mesa and pitchers Graham Godfrey, Lenny DiNardo, Jordan Norberto, Jonathan Ortiz, Jose Guzman and Polin Trinidad also are among Oakland farmhands listed on DWL rosters. Ortiz, a righty who posted a 4.02 ERA while striking out 60 against 24 walks over 42 outings at Midland this year, has pitched in six games thus far for the Licey Tigers and has a 1.80 ERA.Pitchers Andres Aviles and Carlos Hernandez are playing in Mexico.
MESA, Ariz. -- A's left fielder Khris Davis confirmed that he won't play for Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.
Davis said he felt "terrible" about the decision, but that he wanted his undivided attention to be on preparing for his second season with Oakland.
"I kind of feel over-extended," he said shortly before the A's hit the field for their first full-squad workout of the season.
Coming off a season where he clubbed a career-best 42 home runs with 102 RBI, Davis said he wouldn't dwell on the incredibly slow start he had in 2016 or the monster numbers he proceeded to put up after that. But he's ready to help the A's try to rebound from back-to-back last place finishes.
"There's a lot of excitement, I can feel it."
MESA, Ariz. — The rain indeed hit Saturday, cutting into the A’s plans for the morning.
They wound up sending a group of pitchers from the minor league facility back to Hohokam Stadium to get their throwing in. But by the time the A’s called it a day shortly before 10:30 a.m., manager Bob Melvin said everyone who was scheduled to throw off the mound got to do so.
Sunday’s forecast calls for possible rain to throw another wrench in things. But the weekend’s weather predictions haven’t exactly been spot-on with the timing of showers, so who knows how it will unfold as Oakland hits the field for its first official full-squad workout of 2017.
The workout will begin about 11 a.m. at the minor league facility (Lew Wolff Training Complex) if the current plans hold.
HEALTH UPDATE: Sean Doolittle said there’s no timetable yet for him to throw off a mound for the first time in camp. Part of that caution stems from last spring. Doolittle, who’s been sidelined for big portions of the past two seasons with shoulder issues, went full bore from the start of camp last year, then had to back off for a bit in the middle of camp and then cram several game appearances into the final stage of exhibitions to ensure he was ready for the regular season.
This spring, the idea is to go light early in camp before gradually ramping things up for the rest of the spring and leading into the season, Doolittle said. Melvin said once the lefty begins appearing in exhibitions, he’ll be on a regular schedule like the other relievers.
“It’s just a matter of when we get him in there,” Melvin said.
Doolittle already had thrown off the mound in pre-camp workouts, so he said he’s not concerned about being held back right now.
NOTEWORTHY: By Saturday, the most noteworthy position player who hadn’t yet been spotted in the clubhouse was left fielder Khris Davis. Players aren’t required to actually show up by reporting day, just check in with the team. The first full-squad workout is Sunday.
The A’s still don’t have a timetable for reliever Santiago Casilla’s arrival, though a team spokesperson said the wheels are in motion for his travel paperwork to soon be cleared in the Dominican Republic.
ODDS AND ENDS: Pitchers will throw live batting practice to hitters Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, the A’s will hold simulated games and Thursday will feature more of an intrasquad-style game with an actual defense playing behind the pitcher as he throws to hitters. It’s all in preparation for next Saturday’s Cactus League opener on the road against the Cubs.