Speaking to CSN's Joe Stiglich, Jarrod Parker says he agrees with manager Bob Melvin that a June return from his second Tommy John surgery is realistic. Parker threw 40 pitches on Friday, all fastballs and changeups, and intends to begin throwing breaking balls on Tuesday, Stiglich writes.
In other news from this morning:
Barry Zito abandoning the cutter
A's beat writers swarmed Barry Zito after his first bullpen of the spring. Zito told them he's eliminating the cutter in favor of his changeup (Stiglich), and trying to get back to the over the top mechanics of his best years with the A's in 2000-2003 (Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle). Here's what that looked like today, from CSN's Ahmed Fareed:
The comeback of Barry Zito. https://t.co/1Bc0WkC1Zi— Ahmed Fareed (@AhmedFareedCSN) February 21, 2015
It's a significant change after throwing the cutter 22.5% in 2012 and 25.7% in 2013, his last two seasons with the Giants. That will make his pitch combo a simple fastball, changeup, curveball combination.
Nick Paparesta: Everybody's hurt but don't worry
The headline is a slight over-exaggeration. A's head trainer Nick Paparesta held court with the beat writers to update them on Sean Nolin (groin), Raul Alcantara (Tommy John surgery recovery), and Taylor Thompson (shoulder).
Raul Alcantara is throwing from halfway up the mound as continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery performed last May (Slusser). Reliever Taylor Thompson was held out today with right shoulder tightness (Slusser).
Hohokam Stadium open house: A Day At the Diamond
The City of Mesa and the A's are treating locals to an open house with all sorts of activities:
Here's some more info on today's "Day at the Diamond" event at the renovated Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, AZ. pic.twitter.com/7Hzl1T39FY— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) February 21, 2015
There's a cute promotional video befitting a public access television channel:
Hints of a bullpen newcomer
Susan Slusser, answering a twitter inquiry on R.J. Alvarez's chances to make the opening night bullpen, responded overwhelmingly positively:
For the moment the bullpen pencils out to Tyler Clippard, Ryan Cook, Fernando Abad, Dan Otero, and Eric O'Flaherty. Jesse Chavez may be in the rotation or the long man in the bullpen, which leaves one place open with Sean Doolittle expected to start the season on the disabled list. Evan Scribner, who is out of options, remains the odd man out for now.
Tweets from the Bob Melvin press gaggle
Melvin says Renato Nunez hit three balls over the massive scoreboard in LF today and two off it.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) February 21, 2015
Melvin liked Zito's side session, says he was focused and had a lot of energy. "That curveball is still there, that's for sure."— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) February 21, 2015
Other standouts today: Clippard, Bassitt, Cook.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) February 21, 2015
#Athletics mgr Bob Melvin had big praise for RHP Chris Bassitt, RHP Tyler Clippard, RHP Ryan Cook and INF Matt Olson from today's workout.— John Hickey (@JHickey3) February 21, 2015