Remarkably, my plane didn't crash coming home either, probably because the TSA, ever vigilant for possible terrorist activity, wisely saved my flight from barbecue sauce by confiscating the bottle of Honey Bear's BBQ Sauce I was trying to smuggle onto the plane. And yes, I was going to baste the pilot. There, I said it. Now a few updates:
* My interview with Trevor Cahill will run in two parts, Wednesday and Thursday, with the interview posted shortly after each game (4:30pm PDT) in lieu of a recap.
* It seems quite clear now that from amongst Andy LaRoche, Steve Tolleson, and Eric Sogard, if one of them makes the roster as the backup utility infielder it will be Sogard. Tolleson was sent down (and is apparently none too pleased, having been told it would come down to defense and then been passed over despite being the only true SS), and the A's have not played LaRoche at SS lately, while Sogard has seen a lot of time -- including all 9 innings today against the Diamondbacks.
How has Sogard looked at SS? He made two truly outstanding plays turning attempted 3-6-1 DPs, each time scooping a bad throw from the 1Bman and, without missing a beat, getting a relay onto 1B (one time doubling up Juan Pierre, one time throwing just late). However, his lack of arm strength has shown up multiple times, including the second DP attempt, where he was unable to complete a play Pennington, or another SS with a strong arm, likely would have converted into an out.
Small Sample Conclusion: When arm strength is not needed, Sogard is sure-handed and solid at SS but his arm is weak enough that he will fail to complete some plays other shortstops can complete.
Conclusion about conclusion: The backup utility infielder spot could go to Sogard -- but keep an eye on the waiver wire as we get close to Opening Night, because the guy who gets that spot might not be on the A's right now.
* Michael Taylor looked psyched out, overmatched, and like a prospect who is fast falling from the ranks of top prospect to the dubious category of "AAA flller". Now, he could well have a Nelson Cruz like career trajectory, figuring it out in his later 20s, but at this point I would not hold my breath because even guys like that often don't make it with the team they failed with and Taylor is failing with the A's. It's kind of sad to see.
* Where is Tyson Ross? He hasn't pitched hardly at all lately, despite throwing well and not giving up a run all spring (9.2 IP) for a team that has seen no fewer than 5 relievers suffer setbacks (Bailey, Breslow, Wuertz, Devine, Harden). Did I miss something?