Notes: Joyce might settle in as A's No. 3 hitter

Notes: Joyce might settle in as A's No. 3 hitter

MESA, Ariz. — Though the A’s batting order is changing daily during the early exhibitions, one constant is emerging.

Matt Joyce seems to be manager Bob Melvin’s early choice as a No. 3 hitter when he’s in the lineup. And Melvin’s comments Saturday morning suggested that it could be a regular-season staple as well.

“He’s a professional hitter,” Melvin said. “We tend to move the lineup around from time to time, so I’m getting him acclimated in different spots. We had trouble with on-base (percentage) last year, and his on-base against righties is very good. When he’s in there, he’ll probably be somewhere toward the top based on the fact that we need some guys to get on base a little bit earlier in the lineup.”

The left-handed hitting Joyce is slated to platoon in right field, with Mark Canha a candidate to share the position with him.

Oakland’s team OBP of .304 last season was worst in the American League and the lowest by an A’s team since 1979. Obviously, that played a big role in the A’s also bringing up the rear in runs scored in the AL. Joyce, signed to a two-year*** deal in the offseason, sports an impressive .341 career OBP, and that figure shot up to .403 with Pittsburgh last season, though he accumulated just 231 at-bats in a part-time role.

Joyce has started four Cactus League games so far, hitting third in three of them and second once. He’s 4-for-8 with two home runs and has drawn two walks.

Expect the batting order as a whole to continue showing lots of different looks in exhibitions because the A’s regulars still aren’t playing on a daily basis.


Matt Chapman originally was in Saturday’s lineup at third base, but he stubbed his toe on a chair and cracked a toenail, so Melvin held him out as a precaution and Renato Nunez draws the start at third against the Cleveland Indians.


Outfielder Jake Smolinski, who has yet to play because of a sore right shoulder, is scheduled to make his exhibition debut at designated hitter Sunday against Seattle. He still isn’t throwing yet and said he wasn’t sure when he would do so.

Melvin said he still thinks Smolinski can get enough playing time to make a run at a 25-man roster spot.


Chris Bassitt and Felix Doubront, both on the comeback trail from Tommy John surgery, continue to throw off the mound, though neither has thrown breaking balls yet.

A's announce 2018 Opening Day starter


A's announce 2018 Opening Day starter

For the second straight season, Kendall Graveman will get the ball on Opening Day for the A's. And for the second straight year, he'll face Mike Trout and the Angels.

The team made the news official on Tuesday morning.

Last year, in a win over the Angels, Graveman went six innings, allowed two earned runs and struck out seven.

"It's something I don't take for granted. It's an honor and a privilege and [I just want to] try to get the season off to a good start and hopefully be a leader of this staff," Graveman told reporters Tuesday in Arizona.

In four seasons with the A's and Blue Jays, Graveman has a 4.11 ERA in 76 appearances.

A's agree to deal with familiar veteran pitcher


A's agree to deal with familiar veteran pitcher

UPDATE (Mar. 19, 7:45 p.m. PT): The A's officially announced the Cahill signing on Monday. This story has been updated to reflect that.

On the same day the Oakland A's learned they'd be without Jharel Cotton all season, they signed a familiar face to bolster their pitching depth. 

Oakland agreed to a one-year deal with Trevor Cahill, nearly 12 years after the A's drafted him in the second round. 

Cahill pitched for Oakland from 2009-11. He started 96 games in three seasons with the A's, going 40-35 with a 3.91 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. Since Oakland traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Dec. 2011, Cahill's pitched for six teams. 

The 30-year-old won a World Series ring with the Chicago Cubs in 2016, and pitched for the San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals last season. In 2017, he went 4-3 in 21 appearances (14 starts) with a 4.93 ERA and 1.62 WHIP.