The A's held their first full team meeting today, with position players and pitchers all in camp. After Lew Wolff entered to the tune of "Louie, Louie," Josh Reddick went over the team rules, and Stephen Vogt introduced the new MLB rules as Chris Farley character motivational speaker Matt Foley, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Unfortunately, the performance took place behind closed doors, so we will never know if Stephen Vogt also performed Farley's Chippendale dancer routine.
In other news:
A's players react to proposed smokeless tobacco ban in MLB stadiums
Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, and San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell, D-District 2, have each proposed legislation that would prohibit the use of smokeless tobacco at baseball fields, including by major league players.
Thurmond's bill would prohibit tobacco use entirely at baseball parks in California, reports Jeremy B. White of the Sacramento Bee. Farrell's measure before the San Francisco City and County Board of Supervisors would be limited to baseball parks in San Francisco, including AT&T Park, writes John Wildermuth for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Wildermuth's story includes mixed reactions from A's players and coaches, including pitcher A.J. Griffin:
"It doesn't make sense," said pitcher A.J. Griffin, who used to chew tobacco. "It's not comparable to smoking, there's no secondhand smoke with chewing tobacco. It doesn't affect the people around you - it just makes you look gross and makes girls not want to talk to you."
The Chronicle's Susan Slusser, who contributed to Wildermuth's story, has more quotes on her Drumbeat blog from manager Bob Melvin, bench coach Mike Aldrete, starting pitcher Scott Kazmir, and outfielder Sam Fuld.
Josh Hamilton facing discipline for reported drug relapse
Major League Baseball met with Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton in New York for potential discipline, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Jon Heyman tweeted further details:
Hear hamilton had relapse. Believe occurred a couple months back. Involved at least cocaine. Honorably, he confessed.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 26, 2015
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports tweets that any punishment is at the discretion of Commissioner Rob Manfred, because his earlier substance abuse issues occurred when he was in the minor leagues, and he was reinstated subject to the Commissioner's discretion.
Other news and notes
A quick rundown of the other stories coming out of Mesa and around the Internet:
- Craig Gentry is hoping for a healthier 2015, reports Jane Lee.
- Bob Melvin knows how to manage lots of new faces, writes Tracy Ringolsby.
- Jane Lee checks in with Brett Lawrie and whatnot. As AN member the blackpearl notes, he does a pretty good Rickey impression, "I'm just going out there to play baseball, to do what Brett Lawrie does, and that's go play some good third base."
San Francisco Chronicle
- Ann Killion writes extensively about Brett Lawrie, including his meeting 6-year-old Amelia, who was upset he was leaving Canada's team. Killion could not resist a dig at A's fans at the end of the article, "Hear that, A's fans? Dual fandom is possible. And it can help ease the heartbreak."
- Susan Slusser says, "Kendall Graveman is the friendliest person you'll ever meet." Stephen Vogt says, "He's mature for his age ... a Southern gentleman." It's yet another must read profile from Slusser.
- Slusser also has video of Brett Lawrie, Billy Butler, and Renato Nunez taking batting practice, plus Kendall Graveman throwing against live hitters.
Bay Area News Group
- Carl Steward writes about Brett Lawrie. How many times are we going to be writing "Brett's very high energy" this season?
- Spring invitees Matt Olson and Renato Nunez are impressing Bob Melvin with their power hitting, reports John Hickey.
- Tim Kawakami says the A's only choice is to build in Oakland.
Comcast Sports Net
- Joe Stiglich checks in with A's director of player development Keith Lieppman about Matt Olson.
- Bench coach Mike Aldrete has earned praise from manager Bob Melvin, Stiglich writes in his Wednesday notes column. Also notes on Mark Canha's power display in batting practice, who the new clubhouse leaders might be, and the A's are using Japan-style double batting cages again.
- Stiglich has a longer column about team chemistry, summarizing Billy Butler as saying, "It's up to veterans like him, infielder Ben Zobrist and outfielder Coco Crisp to take the lead as far as building cohesion in the clubhouse."
- In his Tuesday notes column, Stiglich says Marcus Semien is the favorite to earn the starting shortstop role, but he still has to earn it this spring. He includes notes on the alternatives, as well as a note on Jarrod Parker learning to throw a curveball that won't put as much pressure on his right elbow
- Tuesday afternoon, Stiglich reports on his chat with every-position-man Ben Zorbist.