EXTRAS: A's have that 'first day of school' feeling

Melvin: 'Everybody is excited about being back'

EXTRAS: A's have that 'first day of school' feeling
February 11, 2013, 5:30 pm
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PHOENIX -- Rain drops cascaded down over the roof of the dugout, and puddles began to form in the infield dirt. Only a select few decided to brave the elements and play catch or take a light jog.

It wasn't a typical day of desert baseball at the spring training home of the Oakland Athletics in Phoenix, Arizona. As pitchers and catchers -- and a collection of position players -- reported to camp for physicals, the reunion of sorts for the 2012 American League West Division Champions sort of felt like the first day of school.

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With that in mind, I asked a couple of players if they agreed with my sentiments.

Does it feel like the first day of school?

"First day of school you are wanting to go back and see all of your friends," A.J. Griffin said. "We're going to have the whole group here collectively and it's going to be a fun spring and a fun season I think."

"A little bit. It's kind of exciting," Tommy Milone said. "You're seeing your friends and your co-workers again for the first time. It's a lot of fun seeing those faces again. Obviously you miss them during the offseason. So it's nice to get back out here and something we love to do and see the faces again."

"A little bit," Dan Straily said. "You get to see people you haven't seen in a couple of months and you become family over the course of summer. There are new guys here, the clubhouse has changed a lot during the offseason."

"Everybody is excited," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It's a group that showed last year that they get along very well and they are comfortable with each other."

In attendance:

All pitchers and catchers except Michael Ynoa.

Position players: Coco Crisp, Chris Young, Scott Sizemore, Brandon Moss, Andy Parrino, Daric Barton, Hiro Nakajima, Jemile Weeks, Eric Sogard, Michael Taylor, and Michael Choice.

Not here yet:

Only one pitcher didn't make it to camp, Ynoa, has a case of the chicken pox. He is stuck at home in the Dominican Republic for another 6-10 business days.

According to multiple reports the A's have agreed on a minor league contract with Japanese pitcher Hideki Okajima. As part of the deal he would get an invite to spring training. The deal would be pending a physical, so the team hasn't publicly commented on the acquisition.

Expected to be limited:

-- The only players limited in camp are pitchers Jordan Norberto and Andrew Carignan. Norberto battled through a left shoulder injury that ended his season prematurely and forced him to go on the disabled list twice in 2012. Carignan is recovering from "Tommy John" surgery.

Notes:

-- Crisp's arrival was followed by a concert of sorts. He brought with him a Beats by Dre boombox and at 12:46 p.m. the club was already playing 'Moving Like Bernie.'

-- The stalls in the A's clubhouse go by numeric order. Hiro Nakajima is parked next to Coco Crisp. Jed Lowrie will be wearing number eight.

-- When asked about the team's depth and how he'll set a lineup, Melvin joked that his solution could come down to who shows up first, and who comes baring gifts.

-- As far as Bob Melvin knows, he passed his physical. It was undetermined what would happen if he didn't.

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