Oakland Athletics spring training opening day news and notes

The Athletics open their spring training schedule this afternoon against the Rockies

Oakland Athletics Photo Day
Oakland Athletics Photo Day / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

We've officially made it to gameday! As difficult as it has been to be an Athletics fan for the last year and change, we've made it back to the first game of spring training to open up the 2024 season.

The Athletics face off against the Rockies this afternoon. In the meantime, Fans Fest, led by the Oakland 68's and Last Dive Bar is getting underway this morning. You can check out the Fans Fest website for info, and Athletics Nation did a write-up of some of the more interesting highlights.

There will be different autograph sessions for fans, interview sessions, and lots more. Fans Fest is taking place in Bloc15 down in Jack London Square from 11am - 4pm.

As far as the spring training roster goes, GM David Forst spoke about the shortstop competition earlier this week. He had some positive thoughts about Nick Allen, and how well the 25 year old played down the stretch.

Allen finished the year with a .221/.263/.287 slash line in 106 games. He primarily played short for the Athletics last year but does have experience at second base.

The hot name in camp is Darell Hernaiz, the 22 year old prospect who came back in the Cole Irvin trade. Hernaiz tore up Double-A last year and held his own at Triple-A. He has advanced plate discipline and is a strong defender at short.

Assuming that Aledmys Diaz is getting shifted off the position, Hernaiz would seem to be in line to get the opening day nod. If Hernaiz struggles during the spring, then you can probably shift back to Allen. Despite his offensive struggles Allen is a capable defender at both middle infield spots, so you'd be comfortable giving him the opportunity to make the necessary improvements at the plate.

In addition to shortstop, the battle for playing time at third base will be one we're closely watching during spring training. Recent trade acquisition Abraham Toro seems to have the inside track to playing time there, but the A's also have the aforementioned Diaz, as well as Jordan Diaz and Brett Harris, waiting in the wings.

Toro hasn't been a standout hitter during his five major league seasons so if he's struggling and Jordan Diaz looks good in March, the Athletics will have a choice to make. Harris is in camp but isn't yet on the 40-man roster. He could be one of the first guys to get a call when the inevitable injury bug hits.