Athletics

Fowler, Mateo highlight young players to watch on A's spring roster

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Fowler, Mateo highlight young players to watch on A's spring roster

The A’s report to spring training in five weeks, and they’ve announced the group they’ll bring to Arizona with them.

Along with their official 40-man roster, Oakland will have 17 non-roster invitees in camp. That’s a smaller spring roster than recent seasons, which means a little better chance for new guys to make an impression.

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of some noteworthy players taking part in their first big league camp with Oakland. We’ll focus on young guys you need to know about, starting with those on the 40-man …

OF Dustin Fowler: His physical condition holds the key as he’s coming back from surgery following a devastating right knee injury last year. Acquired from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray trade, Fowler, 23, is viewed as the possible starting center fielder if he’s full strength. Reports have been that he’s progressing well in his rehab, though he’ll likely be broken in slowly as far as game action this spring. He’s ranked as the A’s No. 3 prospect by mlb.com, but Fowler remains a question mark until he shows he’s 100 percent.

SS Jorge Mateo: A speed burner who also came over in the Gray deal, the 22-year-old Mateo will be one of the most closely watched players in camp. He’s rated the A’s No. 4 prospect, and he’s a player that team officials have pegged as part of the big league future. Will it be at shortstop, perhaps center field? That remains to be seen. But Mateo will be one of the best all-around athletes to set foot in team facilities in Mesa. He’s played just 60 games as high as Double-A, so Mateo won’t factor into the big league plans right away.

RHP Heath Fillmyer: If you’re looking for the next under-the-radar guy who could impact the big league rotation soon, Fillmyer fits the bill. A fifth-round pick out of junior college in 2014, the 23-year-old Fillmyer is making a good impression as he climbs the ranks. He went 11-5 with a 3.49 ERA with Double-A Midland last season and features a mid 90’s fastball with sinking action that generates ground balls.

OF Ramon Laureano: It didn’t generate much buzz when the A’s acquired him in November from the Astros for minor league pitcher Brandon Bailey, but Laureano began the 2017 season as the No. 13 prospect (Baseball America) in a stacked Houston farm system. The tools are there, including good speed, a strong arm and the ability to handle all three outfield spots. But Laureano, 23, had a poor year at the plate last season in Double-A (.227/.298/.369). He did steal 24 bases, and the A’s thought enough to add him to the 40-man roster.

NON-ROSTER INVITEES

RHP Grant Holmes: Jharel Cotton and Frankie Montas have logged time on the big league staff since arriving from the Dodgers in the Rich Hill/Josh Reddick trade of 2016. Holmes, just 21, is the third right-hander that was acquired in that deal, and some pegged him as the brightest prospect of the trio. He’s got a nice fastball/curve combo but needs to throw more strikes. Remember when Sean Manaea drew attention two spring ago with the curly mop of hair that spilled out from his hat? Holmes is the red-headed answer to that.

RHP Logan Shore: You might remember Shore, 23, from last spring, when he came over from minor league camp and struck out Mike Trout in an emergency spot start. He’s a full-time invite to big league camp this year, joining Holmes as another righty starter ranked among Oakland’s top 10 prospects. A college teammate of top A’s pitching prospect A.J. Puk at Florida, Shore missed two months with Single-A Stockton last season with a lat strain. His changeup impresses, with A’s special assistant Grady Fuson saying Shore “almost makes the baseball stop” with that pitch.

3B/SS Sheldon Neuse: It’s pronounced “noisy,” let’s get that out of the way. Neuse made a splash after coming over from the Nationals in last summer’s Sean Doolittle/Ryan Madson trade, hitting .380 with 28 RBI in 40 games split between Single-A and Double-A. Then he impressed in the Arizona Fall League. Neuse, 23, is better suited for third than short. So where does he fit in considering Matt Chapman’s presence? If this guy keeps hitting, the A’s will find a position for him.

A's pummel Padres with barrage of long home runs

A's pummel Padres with barrage of long home runs

BOX SCORE

SAN DIEGO -- Light-hitting Franklin Barreto connected for a 424-foot, three-run home run, one of five long balls the Oakland Athletics hit in routing the San Diego Padres 12-4 on Wednesday.

Josh PhegleyMark CanhaMatt Olson and Jed Lowrie also went deep for Oakland.

The A's hit seven homers in sweeping the two-game series. Stephen Piscotty tied Tuesday night's game with a homer with two outs in the ninth off Brad Hand and Lowie hit a two-run shot with two outs in the 10th for a 4-2 victory.

Barreto and Phegley went back-to-back with their first homers of the season in the second inning off left-hander Joey Lucchesi (3-3), who had been on the disabled list for more than a month. Barreto, hitting .071 coming in and batting seventh, homered into Oakland's bullpen well beyond the fence in center field on a full-count pitch. Phegley homered off the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse in the left field corner on a 1-1 pitch. Lucchesi hit Olson with a pitch opening the inning and then walked Piscotty ahead of Barreto's homer.

Robbie Erlin got the last out of the second before allowing consecutive homers to Canha and Olson in the third. It was Canha's ninth and Olson's 15th. Phegley added a sacrifice fly.

Lowrie connected off Phil Hughes in the eighth, his 11th.

Frankie Montas (4-1) benefited from the long balls as he threw 6 2-3 strong innings. He held the Padres to one run and five hits, struck out six and walked three. He allowed Cory Spangenberg's RBI single in the third.

Lucchesi went just 1 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and three hits.

Trailing 10-1, the Padres had infielder Cory Spangenberg pitch the ninth. He allowed two runs on two hits and two walks in his second appearance of the season.

San Diego's Christian Villanueva homered in the ninth, his 16th.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Padres: Placed RHP Bryan Mitchell on the 10-day disabled list with an impingement in his right elbow to make room for Lucchesi on the 25-man roster. Mitchell (0-3, 7.08 ERA) hasn't pitched since June 5. Mitchell has been disappointing since being acquired from the New York Yankees along with third baseman Chase Headley. The Padres wanted Mitchell so badly they were willing to take on Headley's $13 million salary, but the deal has backfired. Headley was released on May 19 and Mitchell was demoted from the rotation to the bullpen.

UP NEXT:
Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt (0-2, 2.45) is scheduled to start Thursday night's opener of a four-game series at the Chicago White Sox, who counter with RHP Lucas Giolito(4-7, 7.19).

Padres: RHP Tyson Ross (5-4, 3.51) is set to start the opener of a four-game series Thursday night at San Francisco, opposite LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-2, 4.67).

Lowrie, Piscotty power A's comeback win vs Padres

Lowrie, Piscotty power A's comeback win vs Padres

SAN DIEGO  — Stephen Piscotty homered with two outs in the ninth inning to tie the game and Jed Lowie hit a two-run shot with two outs in the 10th to lift the Oakland Athletics over the San Diego Padres 4-2 on Tuesday night.

Piscotty’s shot into the second deck came off closer Brad Hand. Hand was trying for his 22nd save and retired the first two batters before Piscotty homered on a 2-2 pitch, his fifth.

Adam Cimber (3-3) allowed Marcus Semien’s one-out single in the 10th and retired Chad Pinder on a fly to right before Lowrie connected for his 10th homer.

Rookie Lou Trivino (4-1) pitched two innings for the win. Blake Treinen pitched the 10th for his 16th save.

Padres rookie left-hander hander Eric Lauer had been in line for the victory after pitching six strong innings. He settled down after allowing an unearned run in the second and held the A’s to one run and three hits while matching his strikeout high with seven. He walked two.

The Padres had given Lauer just enough support in the first two innings against Paul Blackburn. Jose Pirela brought in a run in the first on a grounder and Raffy Lopez doubled with one out in the second to bring in rookie Franmil Reyes, who was aboard on a leadoff double.

Blackburn allowed two runs and four hits in five innings, struck out four and walked two.

The A’s scored in the second with some help from replay. Khris Davis drew a leadoff walk and was originally called out on a force play on Matt Olson’s ground ball. The A’s challenged and the call was overturned, with shortstop Freddy Galvis given an error because his foot wasn’t on second base when he took the throw. Davis advanced on Mark Canha’s single and scored when Piscotty grounded into a double play.

ROAD WARRIORS

The Padres are in a stretch in which they will play just five of 28 games at home. After going 5-5 on a trip through Miami, St. Louis and Atlanta, the Padres are home for just two games before heading out for a seven-game trip to San Francisco and Texas. Then they’re home for three games against Pittsburgh before a six-game trip to Oakland and Arizona.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: Have cut short OF Franchy Cordero’s rehab assignment after he felt something in his right elbow. Manager Andy Green said it’s “highly unlikely” Cordero is back soon.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Frankie Montas (3-1, 2.67 ERA) is scheduled to start the finale of the two-game series.

Padres: Rookie LHP Joey Lucchesi (3-2, 3.23) is scheduled to return from more than a month on the DL with a strained right hip.