MESA, Ariz. — Highly touted outfield prospect Lazaro “Lazarito” Armenteros is on the A’s travel roster for Saturday’s split-squad road game against the Dodgers in Glendale.
Armenteros, just 17, signed last summer for a $3 million bonus during the international amateur signing period. He’s taking part in his first minor league spring training in the United States, and he’ll stay in Arizona for extended spring training before departing to play in the Dominican Summer League for a stretch.
Some of Oakland’s major league position players are nursing very minor injuries, including outfielder Khris Davis and utility man Adam Rosales, so the A’s need all the healthy bodies they can find to cover both games Saturday. Getting into a major league exhibition would be quite an experience for Armenteros, a much-hyped prospect who defected from Cuba and eventually settled in the Dominican Republic before signing with the A’s.
He’s usually just referred to by the nickname “Lazarito”, which is how he’s listed on the A’s lineup card that’s been posted in advance of Saturday’s game.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said it would be good for Armenteros to be exposed to the major league atmosphere.
“He’s quite athletic, and I know they love him over there” at minor league camp, Melvin said.
Armenteros took part in the A’s fall instructional league before heading back to the Dominican Republic over the winter. In an interview with CSN California on Sunday, Armenteros discussed how excited he was to pursue his baseball career in the U.S. He’s a big fan of the Cuban natives currently playing in the majors, including the Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes, the Astros’ Yulieski Gurriel and the Diamondbacks’ Yasmany Tomas.
He also pointed out differences between baseball in the U.S. and Cuba — in terms of structure and overall approach — that he’s noticed during the short time he’s been at spring training.
“Over there you kind of play the game because you like it and you enjoy it,” Armenteros said through interpreter Juan Dorado. “Here, it’s more like a job. There’s more preparation.”
Davis is dealing with a right quad issue.
“We don’t think it’s that big of a concern,” Melvin said.
Davis didn’t play Thursday, and he’ll rest Friday and Saturday before Melvin hopes to get him back in the lineup Sunday.
Rosales has a bit of a shoulder issue that’s kept him out of a couple games, Melvin said. But Rosales will get at-bats Friday in a minor league game along with catcher Josh Phegley, who’s a bit short on at-bats of late.