OAKLAND -- The Oakland Athletics finalized their 25-man roster Friday, trimming down from 32 players to the final 25 that will be here on Opening Day. Last season the A's used 50 different players en route to their first playoff run since 2006. For a team built on depth, there were a lot of decisions to make.
The team optioned left-handed pitcher Pedro Figueroa and infielder Andy Parrino to Triple-A Sacramento and placed infielder Hiro Nakajima on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27 with a strained left hamstring. Right-handed pitcher Mike Ekstrom, left-handed pitcher Hideki Okajima and catcher Luke Montz, the A’s three remaining non-roster invitees, were reassigned to the A’s minor league camp.
"You have some tough cuts especially on the last day," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Guys that think they are going to make the team and just don't, and have probably done some things to make the team. Here we have so much depth that's it's pretty incremental and that's just the way it is sometimes."
For the skipper, final cut day can be difficult. He says there are certain instances, however, that make it easier to deal with. One such example, is that of Nate Freiman. The six-foot-eight first baseman has never played above Double-A, but managed to make the team.
"This is an unbelievable feeling," Freiman said. "I'm kind of waiting for it to sink in."
Freiman, who was claimed from the Astros on March 23, says his wildest dream this offseason was to play at Minute Maid Park this year. He'll get to do that as a member of the reigning American League West Champions now. The A's first road trip is to Houston.
"Those make these days more palatable, when you have someone for the first time is in the big leagues," Melvin said. "He's so appreciative and he was really excited about it."
Freiman's spot came at the expense of Nakajima, who says he is disappointed to be starting the year on the DL. The Japanese shortstop strained his left hamstring on March 26, and was hitting .167 this spring.
"I personally feel I can recover really quickly, but since it's early in the season it needs to be a gradual process," Nakajima said through interpreter Hiroo Nishi. "That's what I've been told from the upper management, so we'll go along with that schedule."
Nakajima reported to A's camp 10 days before pitchers and catchers were expected to report. Motivated by a desire to prove he belongs in the big league, he may have tired himself out.
"Because I came to the camp a little bit early I think exhaustion set in a little bit," Nakajima said through his interpreter. "I take this as a good opportunity to rest up a little bit, become refreshed and get back on track."
Nakajima's fellow countryman Hideki Okajima didn't make the cut either. The final bullpen spot went to right-handed reliever Evan Scribner. Scribner, 27, pitched valuable innings for the A's last season during their pennant race. On the final day of 2012, when the A's and Rangers played a game to decide the American League West, Scribner was the pitcher that ultimately decided the game for Oakland. He got the win after holding the Rangers' lineup scoreless over three innings of relief.
Scribner was 2-0 with a 2.55 ERA in his rookie season with Oakland. Last year on this day he was packing his bags after getting cut.
"The last two weeks I didn't have any idea what would happen," Scribner said. "I was trying not to think about it as much as I could. It was hard not to."
"Prepare for the worst, expect for the best. That's what I was trying to do," Scribner added.
The A's will open the season on Monday at the Oakland Coliseum in front of a sell-out crowd.
The 25-Man Roster
LHP Brett Anderson
RHP Jarrod Parker
LHP Tommy Milone
RHP A.J. Griffin
RHP Dan Straily
RHP Grant Balfour
LHP Sean Doolittle
RHP Ryan Cook
LHP Jerry Blevins
RHP Pat Neshek
RHP Chris Resop
RHP Evan Scribner
Hiro Nakajima (15 day)
Adam Rosales (15 day)
Fernando Rodriguez (60 day)
**Bartolo Colon is suspended for five more games.