Athletics' righty Mitch Spence takes the hill in spring training bout vs Mariners

Mitch Spence is set to take the ball for the Athletics this afternoon

Oakland Athletics v Cleveland Guardians
Oakland Athletics v Cleveland Guardians / Norm Hall/GettyImages

Athletics' right hander Mitch Spence is set to make his second start of spring training today against the division rival Seattle Mariners. First pitch will be at 12:10pm PST.

Last time out Spence threw two innings, notching three strikeouts and allowing one earned run on three hits. The 2024 Rule 5 pick is battling with Luis Medina, Joey Boyle, and Kyle Muller for the 5th and final rotation spot in Oakland.

Spence doesn't have a big fastball. He was throwing the four-seamer between 90-92 mph last time out, but the breaking pitches looked sharp. He mixes a 12-6 curveball with a sweeping slider that have gotten plenty of whiffs in the minors.

He's almost a lock to make the opening day roster but whether he can find a spot as a starter remains to be seen. He's been as durable as anyone else on this pitching staff, which is something the Athletics didn't have a lot of in 2023.

If Spence can stay healthy, he should prove to be an effective starter working in the back end of Oakland's rotation this season.

In addition to Spence, catching prospect Kyle McCann will get his first start behind the dish this afternoon. Depending on how GM David Forst and manager Mark Kotsay handle Tyler Soderstrom, McCann could be fighting with Yohel Pozo and Carlos Perez for the backup catching spot in Oakland this year.

Soderstrom figures to be the first option but he's not a good defensive catcher and the bat hasn't looked good in limited time at the major league level. Perez served as Shea Langeliers' backup in 2023 and could have a leg up in the competition due to familiarity.

McCann spent the entirety of 2023 at Triple-A Las Vegas. He hit 17 homers for the Aviators with an .825 OPS in 97 games. He just turned 26 and is heading into his 6th year in the Athletics system. It's a bit of a now or never situation for McCann, who is nearing minor league free agent eligibility.

Darell Hernaiz gets another start at shortstop today. He's locked in a battle with Nick Allen for a starting job. Allen has looked sharp so far this spring and has an elite glove, but struggled mightily at the plate in 2023.

The Mariners counter with prospect Emerson Hancock. The young righty got a cup of coffee in the majors in 2023, throwing 12 innings for the big league club. He posted a 3.18 ERA in the small sample size.