A's spring training Day 17: Hahn shines in win over Rangers

A's spring training Day 17: Hahn shines in win over Rangers

MESA, Ariz. — Jesse Hahn threw three scoreless innings Thursday in a 5-1 A’s victory over the Texas Rangers, a strong early statement in his bid for Oakland’s fifth starter spot.

The right-hander became the first A’s starter to complete three innings in the early going of the Cactus League schedule. After giving up Delino DeShields’ single to lead off the game, Hahn struck out three in a row to end the first and followed up with a 1-2-3 second. He stranded a runner on third in his final inning and finished with three hits allowed and zero walks. “I’m just going out there to compete,” Hahn said. “That’s my goal this spring is to get a spot in the rotation, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to try to achieve that.”

Catcher Stephen Vogt liked the four-pitch mix Hahn had going with his fastball, curve, changeup and slider, and manager Bob Melvin was pleased with Hahn’s work out of the stretch, noting the right-hander utilized his slide step occasionally without any signal from the dugout.

“He did some really good things today in the stretch, was quicker to the plate,” Melvin said. “He threw his breaking pitches out of the stretch for strikes. I thought he threw the ball really well.”

But the No. 5 starter battle is no runaway. Raul Alcantara, who is out of minor league options, pitched in relief and gave up one run over three innings, striking out two and walking one.

If those two remain on the same turn pitching, Melvin said he’ll probably flip-flop them at some point so Alcantara gets a chance to make a start. Andrew Triggs is another primary contender to be the fifth starter.

NOTEWORTHY: Two veteran relievers were slated to make their exhibition debuts Thursday, but only one did.

John Axford looked rusty with his command, walking two in his inning of work but emerging unscored upon with help from a double-play grounder. That will be his only outing before he leaves Sunday to join Team Canada for the World Baseball Classic.

Ryan Madson’s debut was pushed back because he’s experiencing some “general arm soreness” according to Melvin, who didn’t sound overly concerned.

The A’s still don’t have a firm read on when Santiago Casilla will arrive, due to a prolonged visa process in the Dominican Republic.

If you’re wondering where Thursday’s good news was regarding the A’s four options for closer, it came with Sean Doolittle, who felt very encouraged after a 30-pitch bullpen session in which he threw his slider and changeup for the first time in camp. He said he’ll throw at least one more time off the mound before possibly getting into a game.

PROSPECT WATCH: Reliever Frankie Montas also made his Cactus League debut, throwing two scoreless innings and hitting 97 and 98 on the radar gun, according to Melvin. Montas has been brought along slowly this spring coming off an injury-plagued season. The A’s plan to get a look at him as a starter, though his pitch count is unlikely to be built up enough to where he draws a spring training start.

ICYMI: Axford recalled in vivid detail the chaos of being in the middle of the Canada-Mexico brawl in the 2013 WBC. Also, check out this feature on catcher Bruce Maxwell, who has enjoyed his stint as a volunteer coach for a Phoenix-area high school team.

ODDS AND ENDS: The A’s got all the offense they would need in a two-run first against the Rangers. Rajai Davis lined a single and scored on Marcus Semien’s RBI double. Ryon Healy’s sacrifice fly made it 2-0. … Jaycob Brugman started in left field and had a two-run single in the sixth.

A's Jharel Cotton to undergo Tommy John surgery, miss 2018 season


A's Jharel Cotton to undergo Tommy John surgery, miss 2018 season

The A's will be without starting pitcher Jharel Cotton for the entire 2018 season as he is set to undergo Tommy John surgery. 

Cotton, 26, went 9-10 with a 5.58 ERA in 2017 after a rookie season in which he went 2-0 with a 2.15 ERA in five starts. Leading up to the injury, he was 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA over four appearances in spring training.

Watch Cotton react to the news: 

Now officially in the fold, Lucroy ready to work with young A's pitchers


Now officially in the fold, Lucroy ready to work with young A's pitchers

The Oakland A's made it official: They finally got their man behind the plate. 

Oakland officially announced the signing of veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy on Monday. Lucroy's deal is reportedly worth $6.5 million, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser.

Lucroy joined his new teammates for the first time in Arizona on Monday, and told reporters that he is especially excited to work with the club's young, promising pitching staff. The three returning leaders in innings pitched (Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton) are all 27-years-old or younger, and 22-year-old top prospect A.J. Puk is pushing for a rotation spot after allowing just one run in three appearances this spring. 

"I'm looking forward to working with these guys and trying to help them get better and get better myself along the way," Lucroy told reporters. "I think that's what it's all about; taking what they do best and try to simplify their approach ... Really, just doing anything I can with them to get hitters out."

Manager Bob Melvin told reporters that he thinks Lucroy's experience will prove beneficial to his young staff.

"If we can't go out and get ourselves a [starting pitcher], that's the next best thing," Melvin told reporters on Monday. "So, he's got a lot of experience, and a great reputation for being a teriffic leader behind the plate."

Lucroy, 31, slashed .265/.345/.371 in 481 plate appearances with the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies last season, hitting six home runs with 40 RBI, his lowest marks in those categories since his rookie season in 2010.

In order to accomodate Lucroy's signing the, the A's designated left-handed pitcher Jairo Labourt for assignment. Labourt was acquired off of waivers on Mar. 4, and Labourt's arrival prompted the eventual release of Brandon Moss one month into his Oakland reunion.