It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for since October 11, 2012 when Justin Verlander shut down the Athletics to end their magical season. The Oakland Athletics are back, in uniform, and getting out on the field today as pitchers and catchers are reporting to Phoenix for Spring Training. Typically the first day doesn’t involve a whole lot of meaningful activity, getting players checked in and taking physicals is usually the norm. Perhaps a light workout here and there and some miscellaneous media sessions will take place. But it doesn’t matter, today is the beginning of the 2013 Major League Baseball season.
February 25, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Bartolo Colon (52) delivers a pitch during spring training at Papago Park Baseball Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
There have been a few small notes trickling out of Phoenix courtesy of Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle this morning. First and foremost, as reported last night the A’s have agreed to a minor league contract with left handed reliever Hideki Okajima, pending a physical. Slusser said that Okajima’s physical won’t take place right away because of blizzard related travel issues, Okajima did fail a physical after signing with the New York Yankees last year so passing is not guaranteed.
In other notes, Bartolo Colon is there but refusing to speak to the media today. I would assume it’s in his best interest to get that first media session out of the way as soon as possible though so he can get rid of all the lingering PED questions that are sure to come up, then he can put it in the past and focus on this upcoming season. Andrew Carignan is throwing again after undergoing Tommy John surgery early last year, and catcher Derek Norris said he looked “really good.” Norris also apparently had trimmed down slightly, dropping 10 pounds and has made some offseason adjustments to his swing to help alleviate the problems he had down the stretch last year. That is a very welcome sign from the young catcher.
- Hiroyuki Nakajima told Slusser that Manager Bob Melvin assured him he was the starting shortstop still after the acquisition of Jed Lowrie, and that Lowrie would be “the ultimate utility guy.”
- Michael Choice has no physical restrictions after his hand fracture that cost him the bulk of the 2012 season. He’s on track to begin the season at Triple A Sacramento. (Check out our examination of Choice from 1/30 here.)
- Michael Ynoa is the only Athletics pitcher not reporting to camp today.
- Jordan Norberto is fully healthy after his shoulder issues, he rehabbed in the Dominican Republic during the offseason.
Surely the great Susan Slusser as well as the other A’s beat writers will be giving us tons of news and notes on the first day of camp. Check back here for a synopsis of it all.