Athletics lefty JP Sears set to make his first start of spring training

Athletics starter JP Sears will make his spring debut today against the Guardians

Detroit Tigers v Oakland Athletics
Detroit Tigers v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Lefty JP Sears is set to make his first start of spring training today against the Guardians. First pitch is at 12:05pm PST.

Sears led the Athletics with 172.1 innings in 2023, pitching to a 4.54 ERA and a disappointing 5-14 record. The lefty is proving to be the prize of the Frankie Montas trade, arriving in Oakland back in 2022.

He's probably a back-end starter on a competitive team but he's shown the skillset to be an effective major league starter. He's as important to this 2024 A's team as anyone else on the roster. The ability to take the ball every fifth day and get through six innings isn't a common ability in MLB anymore.

Sears averaged a bit less than 6 innings per start last season but he did make it through the season uninjured. His reliability was huge for a team that used 24 different starting pitchers throughout 2023.

The Athletics rotation is shaping up to be a bit more stable than it was last year, with veterans Alex Wood and Ross Stripling joining the fold. With a bit more consistency around him, there's hope that Sears can take a step forward and continue to develop his repertoire.

Catching prospect Yohel Pozo will get his first start of the spring this afternoon. The A's signed Pozo to a minor league contract earlier this offseason and extended him a non-roster invite to spring training.

Pozo is competing with veteran Carlos Perez and prospect Kyle McCann for the opportunity to back up Shea Langeliers, who is cemented into the starting role in Oakland. Tyler Soderstrom isn't a great defensive catcher, as evidenced by his two passed balls allowed in his first spring training game over the weekend.

It's possible the A's shift Soderstrom to a full-time DH role and utilize one of the other three as a secondary option to Langeliers. If that were the case, Perez likely has a leg up in the competition but it will depend on their results in the spring, as none of the three are on the 40-man roster.

Xavion Curry will get the start for Cleveland, his first appearance of the spring. All-Star Jose Ramirez gets the start at third base, while top prospect Brayan Rocchio is set to start at short.