Athletics

A's have no opt-outs, no injury issues entering unusual training camp

A's have no opt-outs, no injury issues entering unusual training camp

General manager David Forst said no A’s player has opted out of the upcoming 2020 baseball season. He doesn’t, at this stage, expect someone to do so as a handful have across Major League Baseball over off-field concerns about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

He also said the A’s are full healthy entering Saturday’s start of a three-week summer training camp.

While MLB announced results of COVID-19 testing on Friday, the A’s initial wave of testing remains incomplete.

Forst hopes that doesn’t lead to counting bodies to see if the A’s have positive COVID-19 tests in their player pool scheduled to train at Oakland Coliseum.

“That’s the tricky part,” Forst said Friday in a conference call. “There has been a lot written about disclosure and the policy that MLB announced a few days ago. The policy aside, I’m very sensitive to people’s individual medical information. This is a difficult thing that we’re doing. It’s a difficult thing we’re asking the players to do. I don’t want to make it any more difficult by making them think that personal things will be exposed. ... We’re all trying to do this together, and it’s incredibly difficult. It’s hard to overstate the amount of work that has gone into this.”

Forst isn’t kidding about that last part. They have built a testing facility in the Oakland Coliseum’s parking lot F. They also have moved the weight room into a large tent in that same lot, which connects to the player’s entrance for Oakland Coliseum and Oakland Arena.

The A’s have set up two locker rooms -- their clubhouse and the former Raiders locker room -- to enhance social distancing. The visiting clubhouse currently is being used as a bigger dining area.

The team will conduct staggered workouts, with no player around in their locker room more than 45 minutes before their scheduled stretch time.

It’s going to be a regimented experience that gets going with pitchers and catchers reporting on Saturday with the full squad after that. Things will be different, including routines players thrive upon, as teams try to prepare for the season and keep people healthy.

“It is worth trying,” Forst said. “I’m looking forward to getting feedback from the players as they get in the clubhouse tomorrow and we’re going to do everything we can to make them comfortable. This won’t work if they aren’t comfortable and don’t feel like they can do their job.”

[RELATED: Five key questions A's must answer ahead of Summer Camp]

Those establishing and enforcing protocols must do their job. The players must adhere to new rules to make all this work. Forst believes they will, especially after a conversation with shortstop Marcus Semien.

“I was very impressed with his desire to impart the seriousness on his teammates and have conversations before we arrive and after we arrive with everybody to make sure everyone knows what’s at stake,” Forst said. “What he said that I appreciated the most was that he understands that it’s not just the players being exposed, it’s the staff and coaches, the manger, the trainers and the clubhouse staff. Everybody is in this together. That was something that Marcus relayed to me unsolicited and I really appreciated that, and I trust that he’ll lead those conversations with teammates and that we’ll have other guys step up and do the same thing.”

Watch A's red-hot slugger Matt Chapman crush two home runs vs. Angels

Watch A's red-hot slugger Matt Chapman crush two home runs vs. Angels

Matt Chapman is on a tear.

After the Los Angeles Angels took an early 3-0 lead in the first inning of Monday's game against the A's, the third baseman turned on a pitch from starter Julio Teheran to put the A's on the board.

[RELATED: This projection nearly guarantees A's will make the playoffs]

It was Chapman's third consecutive game with a home run. But the star wasn't done there, as he absolutely crushed a pitch from Teheran in his next at-bat that flew well over center fielder Mike Trout's head.

His second blast gave the A's the lead in the third inning.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Ramón Laureano says he regrets charging 'loser' Alex Cintrón in brawl

Ramón Laureano says he regrets charging 'loser' Alex Cintrón in brawl

Ramón Laureano said he regretted going after Houston Astros hitting coach Alex Cintrón in Sunday's benches-clearing brawl, but the A's outfielder didn't hold back his feelings about Cintrón on Monday in his first comments since the kerfuffle at the Oakland Coliseum.

"I regret charging him because he's a loser," Laureano told ESPN's Jeff Passan in an interview Monday. "[A suspension] is understandable, but I hope it's not that many games. At the end of the day, I'm here to win a World Series with the Oakland Athletics -- this wonderful group of guys. I don't want to be a distraction. Obviously, I am right now. Hey, I've already moved on. I'm facing Julio Teheran (and the Los Angeles Angels) today, and that's all I'm thinking right now."

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Laureano said in the interview with Passan, and later on a video conference call with local reporters, that the Houston hitting coach insulted the outfielder's mother from the opposing dugout. Former Astros beat writer Jose de Jesus Ortiz first reported Sunday those comments were the source of Laureano's ire, while A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters that day that something Cintrón said caused Laureano to charge towards the Astros dugout after reaching first base on his second hit-by-pitch of the game (and third of the series).

Cintrón denied talking about Laureano's mother to Passan via an Astros employee, though the Houston Chronicle's Chandler Rome noted the coach wasn't made available for comment after Sunday's A's win. Astros manager Dusty Baker said Cintrón was "remorseful."

Laureano said that he shouldn't have stooped to Cintrón's level, admitting "I look like not a very smart guy" (H/T Bay Area News Group's Shayna Rubin) for disregarding MLB's healthy-and-safety measures in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. "[Fighting] and instigating fights are strictly prohibited" under the protocols, and both Laureano and Cintrón reportedly are expected to be suspended.

"I guess it’s an unwritten rule that you can’t be doing that, you know, as a coach," Laureano said of Cintrón (H/T NBC Sports California's Jessica Kleinschmidt). So yeah, I guess it was wrong for him to do that. But, hey, I’m a man, I’m a freakin’ man -- whatever happens, happens. And I couldn't keep my cool, and I should've, and I wasted my time with that guy."

[RELATED: Why Laureano was tackled by Garneau in A's-Astros brawl]

Laureano, 26, is slashing .278/.406/.519 with three home runs and 10 RBI so far this season. Only Matt Chapman currently has more extra-base hits, and no batter has been worth more wins above replacement at the plate than Laureano (1.1).

The A's are riding a nine-game winning streak, and Oakland would miss Laureano's bat and glove for as long as he's out of the lineup. In the meantime, he said he has felt supported by the organization in the aftermath of Sunday's fracas.

“It meant a lot to me, that’s how close we are as a group," he told reporters. "Not only the players, but the coaching staff and everybody. It felt good, (all of) the support and people reaching out to me.”