In Saturday's game recap, I gave the standard Spring Training disclaimer. The games don't count, the wins and losses and run differentials don't matter, and the stats are mostly meaningless. There are only two things which are of any interest in Spring Training: positional battles and top prospects. And injuries. Three things. There are only three things which are of any interest in Spring Training.
Today, the A's got a taste of all three things. Just kidding! No one got hurt today. Michael Choice banged his knee making a catch, but it sounds like he's fine. Chris Young did sit out after tweaking his quad yesterday (he wasn't scheduled to play today anyway), and will sit out again tomorrow. I'm not sure whether it's the same quad which forced him to miss time last year, but there's a 50% chance that it is. That's a Spring Training stat you can count on! His quad cramp is probably not an issue, unless it is. You just never know with these things.
Before we move on to the other two things, let's take a quick look at today's game overall. Actually, there were two games today. First, there was the Major League game, in which the Indians defeated the A's 3-0 in 4 innings. A quick aside before we review this part of the game: at this point in the year, the pitcher's are generally ahead of the hitters. Not only that, but the Indians started today's game with Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez, who are easily their two best starting pitchers. It's really not that big of a deal that they limited Oakland's Major League lineup to two hits in 4 innings. It's not ideal, but it's also not important.
Meanwhile, Oakland started with Andrew Werner, who allowed an unearned run in two hitless innings. The error involved Brandon Moss making a throw to Hiro Nakajima, but I'm not sure who was at fault. The error was charged to Moss, so we'll go with that. Evan Scribner came in next and got knocked around in his lone inning of work, allowing two runs on a walk, a single, and a double. Scribbles only got out of it because Michael Taylor threw out Michael Brantley trying to stretch the double into a triple. In the 4th, Hideki Okajima returned to an American mound with a scoreless frame, aided by a nice play by Josh Donaldson.
In the Minor League game, the Indians once again defeated the A's, but this time the score was 11-10 in 5 innings. Yowza! I'm going to be going over the important minor leaguers individually, so here's all you need to know. In the 6th, Matt Carson hit a 2-run homer off of Sonny Gray. Yes, that Matt Carson. No, it doesn't mean that Oakland should have kept him. In the 7th, Yan Gomes hit a 3-run homer. No, that doesn't mean that Oakland should have kept Jonny Gomes, because those are two completely different players who aren't related at all. Why would you think that? In the 8th, some random Indians scored 6 runs off of two nobodies and Drew Granier, who was in Single-A last year. Oakland scored at least twice in each inning from the 6th through the 9th.
We'll start with the positional battles. Jemile Weeks had mixed results today. On the plus side, he cracked an RBI double and an RBI single in his three at-bats, but on the negative side, he made an error in the field and got caught stealing 3rd base with a locked-in Michael Choice at the plate. Since his bat is his calling card, though, it was nice to see him go 2-for-3. Grant Green also played, going 1-for-3 with a double (off of Fernando Nieve, an actual Major Leaguer), a popout, and a flyout. Andy Parrino also played (in left field), and finished with a pair of RBI doubles. Meanwhile, potential 25th man Daric Barton had another impressive day at the plate, going 1-for-2 with a ground-ball single and a walk off of Nieve.
And now, the fun part. Several of Oakland's prospects had big days today. First and foremost was one of my current favorites, Shane Peterson. He'll start the year in AAA, but he'll surely be one of the first outfielders called up in case of injury. Today, he went 3-for-3. In the 6th, he hit a 2-run homer off of Matt Capps to put the A's on the board for the first time. In the 7th, he doubled off of Frank Hermann, who has pitched reasonably well in the Majors over parts of 3 seasons. And in the 9th, he singled off of Nieve. What I'm saying is, Peterson had a really good day today and Nieve didn't.
Next up is Michael Choice. In the 6th, he singled off of Capps ahead of Peterson's homer. In the 7th, he homered off of Hermann ahead of Peterson's double. He struck out to end the 8th, but that makes him 5-for-7 this spring, so give him a break. "He was probably tired from running the bases so much," said nobody ever except for Bob Geren. Jefry Marte, who Oakland acquired from the Mets for Collin Cowgill, also played well in his first reps of the spring. knocking a couple of sharp singles before striking out in the 9th.
It's not all good news, though. Michael Taylor is still terrible at baseball. Well, at least at Major League baseball. In his two at-bats, he struck out and hit a comebacker to the pitcher. Hey, at least he made contact. He did throw out a baserunner, but I have to wonder why that runner was going for a triple on a hit to left-center. Whatever, we'll stick with the positive. Unfortunately, Michael's failures extended to Oakland's other Taylor, Beau (also totally not related in any way). Beau went 0-for-3 and apparently had a tough time blocking balls behind the plate. He was also in AA last year, so let's give the kid a pass.
The only noteworthy pitcher in the minor league game was Sonny Gray, who threw 2 innings, didn't strike out a batter, and allowed a 2-run homer to Matt Carson. That's not a ringing endorsement, but again: Spring Training. The rule is that you get to be really excited about the prospects who play well, and totally write off the struggles of the others. It's just a beautiful time of year.
Remember that tomorrow will be the second installment of our FanPost Game Recap contest. The next three games for the competition will be Tuesday (vs Arizona), Friday (vs San Francisco), and Sunday (vs Colorado). You can sign up to participate in the contest by clicking here and finding the sign-ups in the comments section.
See you tomorrow for some more Spring Training action as the A's take on the Arizona Diamondback('s minor leaguers)!