Doolittle will go 'full lefty reliever,' wear glasses on mound

Doolittle will go 'full lefty reliever,' wear glasses on mound

MESA, Ariz. — After a spring training eye exam showed his vision had worsened, A’s reliever Sean Doolittle plans to start the season wearing prescription eyeglasses when he takes the mound.

“I’m going full ‘lefty reliever,’” Doolittle joked. “I had the beard, now I’m wearing glasses. Just full lefty reliever.”

Doolittle got his glasses Tuesday and wore them while pitching in a minor league game Wednesday, reporting no problems. He didn’t want to experiment with contact lenses in the dry Arizona air, though he might try contacts at some point.

The glasses he’ll wear for games are a pair of clear, rectangular-shaped Oakleys with black trim. They have rubber gripping on the sides and bridge of the nose so they won’t fall off. Doolittle showed off a second pair of glasses that he’s wearing away from the field. Those ones are rounder, a bit more scholarly looking.

He’ll debut the new eye wear in a Cactus League game Saturday, when he’s slated to pitch in a split-squad home game against Cincinnati.

Players get their vision checked when they get their physical at the start of spring training.

“I bombed the eye chart,” Doolittle admitted.

He’s got 20/25 vision in his left eye, 20/40 in the right. Doolittle said he noticed he was squinting while driving at night, and wearing glasses seems to have literally opened up a new world to him.

“Looking around now at the mountains, oh my gosh, they’re really nice,” he said with a straight face. “I can see everything in more detail. It’s like going from Standard Def to 4K.”

And the lefty notices another benefit of wearing glasses.

“It’s been great with March Madness,” Doolittle said. “I don’t have to get up and walk over to the TV to see the score.”

'Lazarito' added to A's roster for Saturday split-squad road game

'Lazarito' added to A's roster for Saturday split-squad road game

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.

A's spring training Day 38: Alonso's offense comes to life

A's spring training Day 38: Alonso's offense comes to life

MESA, Ariz. — Yonder Alonso’s value usually gets discussed in terms of his defense, but the A’s first baseman is putting together a very impressive spring with the bat.

The A’s poured it on the Milwaukee Brewers in a 15-5 rout Thursday, and Alonso led the parade with two homers and three RBI. Both shots came off Junior Guerra, and the first would have cleared the right field wall had it been pushed back 30 feet farther.

Alonso is hitting .382 with four homers in Cactus League play. He says the extra work he’s putting in with hitting coach Darren Bush is paying off, and manager Bob Melvin likes what he sees from a player who hit .253 last year and knocked just seven home runs for the entire regular season.

“He’s had a great approach from the minute he got here,” Melvin said. “He and Bushy had a plan. He’s using the whole field a little bit more, which keeps him on breaking balls, which allows him to track fastballs a little bit more. He’s hit a couple balls good to left-center as well.”

The A’s love the defense they get from Alonso at first, but getting more thump from him offensively would be a boost for Oakland, which finished last in the American League in runs last season. His on-base percentage dropped to .316 last season, well below his career average of .334. That’s where a more patient approach could pay off, and that’s another focus with Alonso this season.

Right now, the plan is for the left-handed hitting Alonso to platoon at first with Ryon Healy, who will also see time at DH and third base.

“I think every day I’m coming in with a plan,” Alonso said. “Mentally and physically I feel fine. I’m ready to roll. I’m ready to continue to battle and continue to grind and have solid at-bats.”

CAMP BATTLE: A day after Andrew Triggs looked very sharp, another rotation candidate responded with his best start of the spring. Raul Alcantara gave up two runs over 5 1/3 innings against the Brewers, very much keeping his hopes alive for one of Oakland’s two open rotation spots. His outing was easy to overlook on a day the A’s hit four home runs and collected 18 hits total. But it was a timely effort for Alcantara, who is batting Triggs and Jesse Hahn for rotation jobs. Hahn’s next start is Saturday.

“His breaking ball, he struggled throwing it for strikes early and then found it, which is an attribute you want to see,” Melvin said of Alcantara. “It ended up being his best outing for us.”

Melvin said he thinks the battle for the Nos. 4 and 5 starter spots will go down to the wire.

NOTEWORTHY: Lefty Daniel Coulombe, trying to nail down a spot in the bullpen, threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings. After surrendering at least one run in each of his first five appearances, Coulombe has held opponents without a run in each of his last two outings (4 1/3 IP).

ODDS AND ENDS: Trevor Plouffe and Max Schrock hit the A’s other home runs along with Alonso’s two shots. Plouffe’s was an opposite-field blast to right. He’s hitting .361. Schrock was borrowed from minor league camp and went deep to right-center. … Ross Detwiler couldn’t shut the door in the ninth, retiring just two of the eight hitters he faced and allowing two walks and three runs. … Second baseman Joey Wendle, sidelined by a sore right shoulder, was scheduled to play catch for the first time in more than a week Thursday. He underwent an MRI a week ago that he said showed no significant damage. … Outfielder Jaff Decker (oblique) did all activity except take full batting practice. He seems to be progressing well and may still have a chance to battle for a roster spot.