As spring training winds down, it appears the A’s pitching staff is on a decent timeline heading into Opening Day on April 1.
“We’re getting there,” A’s pitching coach Scott Emerson, who filled in for manager Bob Melvin, said after the A's 11-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday. “Obviously you want them to be, you know, 15 pitches away from about 100 when we break camp -- that’s kind of the goal.”
There, of course, will be setbacks, as Emerson explained. Starter Frankie Montas had a delay heading into camp when he tested positive for coronavirus and had to isolate himself before his arrival. Prior to that, he had been throwing bullpens, however.
“A couple of guys are going to be a little bit short due to some injury issues, or the pandemic, with Frankie, and just trying to get our guys there," Emerson said. "You generally like to build them up, 15 pitches, but sometimes you might have to build guys up 20 pitches per game, so these guys have been around a long time. I know we talked earlier in the spring about our guys on paper, over the last couple years, trying to really figure out who your guys are and we kind of got a great idea who they’re going to be now.”
Despite some of the delays, Emerson doesn’t appear to be worried about any of the pitcher’s timelines.
Mike Fiers is questionable for Opening Day with a hip and back issue, and that prognosis hasn't changed.
“He’s playing catch, I guess the best answer is day-by-day,” Emerson said.
Fiers underwent an MRI recently after dealing with some hip inflammation and Melvin said it’s a long shot he’ll be ready by April 1. Emerson believes he can get through his ramping up a bit quicker.
“Mike’s been around the block so when we start building him up, he’ll probably build up maybe a little quicker than normal because he’s been through the experiences of so many spring trainings,” Emerson said. “But Mike’s throwing the ball right now, he’s playing catch and we’ll just take it one day at a time.”
With Fiers presumably out, it's down to Montas, Sean Manaea, Jesús Luzardo and Chris Bassitt. A.J. Puk still has some more games to pitch in, but still is being stretched out to be a starter with Daulton Jefferies also being a possibility to fill in that starter role if need be.