Chad Pinder

Chad Pinder, A's players will feel 'residual effects' when MLB returns

Chad Pinder, A's players will feel 'residual effects' when MLB returns

A’s utility man Chad Pinder is home in Charlotte, North Carolina getting plenty of things done. Watching Netflix, painting nursery furniture, and getting in decent workouts in his garage.

Productive, but not reassuring.

“This is kind of unprecedented in our lifetime, basically to have the nation on hold right now,” Pinder told NBC  Sports Bay Area this week. “It is a very scary time, especially in some the areas that are affected bad right now.”

It was only a few weeks ago Pinder and his Oakland teammates were in Mesa, Arizona getting ready for a highly anticipated 2020 MLB season. 

They, like most of the country, didn’t fully interpret the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at first.

“I don’t know if we initially realized what was going on,” Pinder said. “Thought maybe this would be a two-week break, month maximum. The more information you get, the more you see going around, you realize this is a long-term thing.”

Pinder, a highly-regarded clubhouse leader, now keeps in touch with teammates mostly through text messages.

“We have a group thread, everybody’s talking,” Pinder said.

Their main conversations are about MLB developments, and to keep each other in the loop of when baseball could resume. Players don’t have any more assurances or insights than the average fan does these days. But there are some certainties. 

“Even when we resume stuff, there will be residual effects of what’s been going on,” Pinder said.

[RELATED: Stewart better after coronavirus scare]

That aforementioned nursery project is indeed preparation for Chad and his wife Taylor’s first child, due in the late summer months. He is certainly seeing different perspectives of events right now, as they relate to the future.

“The way we handle this, the way we come out of this,” Pinder said. “We’ll look back on the rest of our lives and remember this time.”

What A's Chad Pinder recalls watching Sean Manaea no-hitter from outfield

What A's Chad Pinder recalls watching Sean Manaea no-hitter from outfield

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Sean Manaea's no-hitter Wednesday, April 1, at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports California.

Sean Manaea’s no-hitter against the Red Sox in 2018 was complete with a shaving cream/Gatorade bath, and an infectious smile.

For A's outfielder Chad Pinder, it was a moment that was extra special. Not just because of the opponent -- the mighty Red Sox -- but also because of what he saw from Manaea himself.

“I think everyone in the (Red Sox's) lineup was hitting .340 at the time," Pinder told NBC Sports California’s Brodie Brazil on Wednesday. "I remember they hadn’t lost many, and they were the team to beat, and they came in hot -- and I just remember Sean being lights out."

“I can obviously remember the last play with Marcus [Semien] the six-four to Jed [Lowrie], and you get to a certain point in the game and you’re like 'All right, let’s just -- everything is focused on defense, we’re up 3-0, let’s just get back out on defense and get the job done, get to the ninth inning.'"

[RELATED: Dallas Braden recalls Manaea's no-hitter vs. Red Sox]

A’s manager Bob Melvin, despite Manaea’s laid back demeanor throughout the entire process, wouldn’t make eye contact with the pitcher from the sixth inning on. Pinder also knew the superstitions behind a you-know-what.

“You don’t say a word, you don’t put it out there, you kind of let it be what it is, and I can remember that last out kind of being like a sigh of relief like ‘All right, he did it.’”

Ten strikeouts and nine innings later, he sure did. 

A's have plenty of outfield options should Stephen Piscotty miss time

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A's have plenty of outfield options should Stephen Piscotty miss time

The A's will march through spring training without Stephen Piscotty, who was formally shut down Friday with an intercostal strain. Manager Bob Melvin said the veteran would be out indefinitely, though he didn’t rule out a return by Opening Day.

Piscotty starting that March 26 home game is far from certain, but him missing a few games to start the season isn’t a massive blow.

Why? The A's have tons of outfield depth.

Ramon Laureano and Mark Cahna would take up two spots, with Robbie Grossman able to fill in well and play consistently. He played 138 games for the A's last year and Oakland re-signed him in free agency. Chad Pinder can play every position and is comfortable working from the grass. Second baseman Tony Kemp has experience out there, too.

P.S. All those guys can field. All of those guys can hit.

Plan A obviously is having Piscotty play soon and play a ton. He’s a quality all-around player and valued clubhouse presence. There are plenty of alternatives.

“[The outfield] looked really crowded, and that’s a good problem to have,” Melvin told reporters on Friday, via MLB.com. “But the more you do this, the more you realize how important depth is. Not only with pitching, but with position players. It’s very rare now that you get through spring training healthy.

"Things have changed a bit in how you deal with spring training. It’s about getting off the field healthy. We do have some depth there.”

[RELATED: Why Melvin is confident Khrush will bounce back this season]

That will allow the A’s to be patient with a regular starter. They can let him get fully healed and ramp up accordingly, into the regular season if necessary. If he starts on the injured list -- that’s a massive “if” at this stage -- it could open a roster spot for an outfield prospect.

At the very least it means more spring training at-bats for promising players in major league camp like Seth Brown, who has some power, or Dustin Fowler, who's trying to reclaim an MLB gig. Skye Bolt is another option.

The A’s could choose to replace Piscotty with another outfielder in a straight position swap, or they could evaluate prospects from other positions considering how much outfield depth already is set to make the club.