Zito reminisces about little-known uniform number he wore before No. 75

Zito reminisces about little-known uniform number he wore before No. 75

OAKLAND — Barry Zito was happy to wear a throwback A’s black jersey from the 2000’s, as a special guest for Saturday’s “Turn Back The Clock” festivities at the Coliseum.

“That’s the coolest uniform in baseball,” he declared.

Though his familiar No. 75 was on his back, Zito pointed out that when he was first called up to Oakland in 2000 he wore No. 53.

“I actually never wore ’75’ in the black because that was my first year and then they canned it,” he said. (The A’s brought back a different version of the black jersey later in the decade that was a favorite of lefty Gio Gonzalez).

Regardless of his number Saturday, the 2002 Cy Young winner was thrilled to be back at the Coliseum to throw out the first pitch to his former catcher, Ramon Hernandez, who was also in attendance with his family.

“We had such a chemistry as the battery back then,” Zito said. “I didn’t have to shake (to a different pitch), ever. He just put down what I felt like throwing. It’s pretty rare when you can get in sync to that level.”

But Zito also recalled, with a laugh, a game in 2012 when he was with the Giants and Hernandez was on the Rockies, and some Giants pitchers thought Hernandez was stealing signs.

“I remember I came up to the plate and he was catching and he said, ‘Why are you guys so mad at me right now?’,” Zito said. “I was like ‘Stop stealing signs dude.’”

Zito was amazed at how many familiar faces he saw in the stands Saturday, particularly the diehards who sit along the railing as players enter the field from the clubhouse. One longtime A’s fan presented him with a picture of himself from the day he made his major league debut.

“I’m probably gonna take that home and frame that,” Zito said.

The fan giveaway Saturday was a bobblehead featuring Zito and former A’s shortstop Miguel Tejada, the 2002 American League MVP.


The A’s announced they’ve agreed to terms with four more draft picks, including second rounder Greg Deichmann, an outfielder from LSU, and third round shortstop Nick Allen from Francis Parker High School in San Diego. Allen was considered a first-round talent by many but he was committed to USC and considered a tough sign. The A’s went way over slot and gave him a $2 million bonus, according to’s Jonathan Mayo. Allen was the 81st overall pick, which came with a slot bonus of $697,500, meaning the A’s had to get creative and sign some of their other high picks to bonuses that came in under slot.

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.

Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues


Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues

When A's catcher Bruce Maxwell knelt during the anthem last season, he was the first MLB player to do so. He knelt before each of each of Oakland's final nine games, in order to protest racial inequality and in response to President Trump's incendiary comments about NFL players kneeling, but ended the season as the only MLB player to kneel during the anthem. 

This season, he won't kneel at all, he told reporters in a statement on the first day of spring training. 

“Obviously, I didn’t take that lightly,” Maxwell told the San Francisco Chronicle prior to the release of his statement.  “That was to bring awareness to a problem and the face we do see it, we do experience and we have empathy for what’s going on. This year I don’t plan on kneeling. … And we’ll move on forward.”

While Maxwell did address his protest during the anthem, he largely did not address his offseason legal issues.

“It’s ongoing, I can’t really discuss details,” he said. “It’s something me and my lawyers are handling.”

On Oct. 28, Maxwell was arrested in Scottsdale after allegedly pointing a gun at a food-delivery person. He pleaded not guilty to felony charges of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct in November, and is set for a settlement conference on April 13 after failing to reach a plea agreement on Monday, according to the Chronicle. 

If an agreement cannot be reached, Maxwell's trial is set to begin on Aug. 9.