MESA, Ariz. — So good was Sean Manaea’s changeup in his first spring start that Giants superstar Buster Posey was singing its praises.
In Saturday’s second start, Manaea simply didn’t have a feel for the pitch. The A’s lefty got knocked around for five runs (four earned) in 1 2/3 innings and the A’s absorbed a 15-5 drubbing from the Cleveland Indians at Hohokam Stadium.
Such is the nature of early spring, when a pitcher’s command can desert him from one outing to the next without explanation.
“I just wasn’t throwing it for a strike,” Manaea said. “It’s something I’ve got to work on, something that needs to be executed a lot better than it was today. It’s what I guess spring training (is about), working out all those kinks and hopefully by the season be ready to go.”
The A’s as a team will take a mulligan on this one.
Seven pitchers got clobbered for 19 hits, and Oakland capped a forgettable afternoon by committing two errors.
Manaea was dialed in against San Francisco to the point that Posey commented to A’s infielder Ryon Healy about how tough his changeup was. Not the case Saturday, when Manaea said he felt out of whack mechanically with the pitch. He also had trouble spotting the fastball, and that led to him falling behind in counts. But manager Bob Melvin simply chalked it up as a bad day.
“Usually he’s so good at locating, especially with his fastball and changeup,” Melvin said. “He got behind in counts, but he’s not a guy that I’m worried too much about.”
NOTEWORTHY: Some clarity came Saturday regarding Santiago Casilla’s status for the World Baseball Classic. The official Twitter account of the Dominican Republic national team said that neither Casilla nor Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto would pitch in the first round of the tournament, which begins Monday.
Casilla, delayed from reporting to A’s camp because of visa issues, is scheduled to arrive Sunday, and Melvin said he would have more information regarding Casilla’s status in the morning.
In other bullpen news, Ryan Madson will pitch in his first game Tuesday after being scratched Thursday with arm soreness. Sean Doolittle will throw off the mound Sunday and face hitters after that.
PROSPECT WATCH: With Matt Chapman held out of the lineup because of a cracked toe nail, Renato Nunez drew a start at third and hit a two-run homer. He also barreled up a couple of other balls. Chad Pinder, who like Nunez got his first call-up in September, started at shortstop and also homered.
“He and Pinder both took advantage of an opportunity, kind of a rare start for those guys,” Melvin said. “These are big games for them. It’s prime time for them, and both had good games today.”
FAMILIAR FACE: Former “Big Three” lefty Mark Mulder wandered through the clubhouse before the game.
Travis Banwart, an ex-Oakland minor leaguer, pitched one inning for Cleveland and gave up the long ball to Pinder.
ODDS AND ENDS: Khris Davis, who came in 1-for-10 in exhibitions, singled to right in the first inning to drive in his first run of the spring. … Right-hander Josh Smith took the brunt of the damage on the mound, getting tagged for five runs in two-thirds of an inning.