There was hope on Saturday that Sean Nolin, recovering from offseason sports hernia surgery, just needed to be eased into throwing from the mound by beginning on flat ground. Those hopes disappeared when Bob Melvin said the session did not go well, according to the Bay Area News Group's John Hickey.
Hickey writes, "Melvin said Nolin has gone from being behind the other candidates - Drew Pomeranz, Jesse Chavez, Jesse Hahn, Chris Bassitt and Kendall Graveman - for the final three spots in the rotation to being 'significantly behind.'''
It's a tough break for Nolin, who is the No. 8 prospect on the Athletics Nation community prospect list. Spencer Silva gave us the low down on Nolin back in December:
He's a big (6'5, 235 pounds) command-and-control lefty with an extreme fly-ball tendency (sound familiar?). He throws mostly in the 89-92 MPH range, although he's capable of reaching back for 95. His only pitch that grades out as above-average (or "plus," in scouting parlance) is his change-up, which combined with his deceptive delivery has been his key to success in the minors.
Nolin dealt with the groin issue for much of 2014, pitching only 98 innings during the regular season, though he did make seven starts in the Arizona Fall League, throwing 22⅓ innings.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes Nolin could return faster if he becomes a reliever, and that "many scouts believe that might be his best role. ... They have so much depth, though, that there is certainly no need to rush Nolin, who [the A's] like a lot."
More from the Bob Melvin press gaggle
Melvin said Fernando Rodriguez looked terrific today. He's not on 40-man right now, but doesn't mean he won't push for bullpen spot.— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) February 22, 2015
Under-the-radar player who you'll see playing this spring -- C Bryan Anderson. He'll get exhibition starts w/Vogt limited early on.— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) February 22, 2015
Some assorted notes:
- Guessing Zito's fastball speed: Susan Slusser reports there was no radar gun for Barry Zito's first bullpen session, but his bullpen catcher Luke Carlin would guess it was in the high 80s, "It certainly wasn't 85 mph."
- Good injury news: Reliever Taylor Thompson, out with right shoulder tightness, could be throwing side sessions this week, Susan Slusser writes.
- A's vs. A's: Bob Melvin says the A's might have an intrasquad game on March 2, the day before their spring opener against the Giants. (Joe Stiglich, CSN tweet)
- Punctual: All 62 players with spring training invites are expected to be in camp by Tuesday, when position players are due to report. It matches the largest A's big league camp in the last 10 years. (John Hickey tweet)
- Arnold Leon's winter workload a concern: Arnold Leon pitched the Tomatero de Culiacán to the Caribbean Series final, which meant he threw 233 innings between Triple-A, the Mexican Winter League, and the Caribbean Series. He's expected to appear out of the bullpen this spring, John Hickey writes.
- Green Card for Abad: Fernando Abad obtained permanent residence status in the United States this winter, writes John Hickey. Plus, he's finally getting his braces off after seven years.
- Baseball players, they're just like us: Sam Fuld and his family arrived in Arizona on Friday, but his luggage did not, Joe Stiglich writes in his Saturday news and notes column.
- Zito gets guff from munchkin: Barry Zito says he often went to a public park where Little League games were played, and some kid "gave him a little attitude", says Joe Stiglich in his Barry Zito column.
- Best shape of their lives: Ryan Cook and Eric O'Flaherty both say their arms feel better than ever, Slusser also writes. Cook getting over last season right shoulder tendinitis and O'Flaherty getting his first full season after Tommy John surgery.
Little split-screen shot of Venditte and...Venditte. #ambidextrous #switchpitcher pic.twitter.com/wdrEq9ko1g— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) February 22, 2015
Don't get your hopes too high:
@closetasfan slim.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) February 22, 2015
Happy birthday Bassitt Hound
Happiest of birthdays to @C_Bass419! #GreenCollar pic.twitter.com/n9dt2mr45O— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) February 22, 2015
Chris Bassitt is 26 today.
The Moneyballers, 12 years later
A big tip of the hat to Susan Slusser for pointing us to Tabitha Soren's photo gallery that catches up with the famed players of the June 2002 Moneyball draft. Soren is married to Moneyball author Michael Lewis:
This is fascinating: Tabitha Soren looks at the Moneyball guys 10 years later and Jeremy Brown is a coal miner: http://t.co/6IelFKruX7— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) February 22, 2015