The Oakland A’s dropped their Cactus League game against the Rockies on Thursday by the score of 6-2, but that was a mere afterthought. All the biggest news came on the injury front.
The day began with word that starter Paul Blackburn was shut down with forearm tightness. Fortunately his MRI came back clean and he’s only ruled out for 10 days so far, but he’ll still miss the beginning of the season. Even more fortunately, once the game began the rest of the staff took turns giving us reasons for optimism.
First up was Andrew Triggs, who enjoyed his longest outing of the spring so far. He pitched into the 6th inning, allowing a pair of solo homers (Blackmon, Iannetta) but little else. Colorado scratched out an unearned run against him, but Triggs had little to do with it — an error by Marcus Semien put the hitter aboard, and then he stole second and scored on a groundball single.
The extended, quality outing by a starter was a welcome sight for A’s fans, but it got even better from there. Frankie Montas, who hadn’t pitched in a game since March 4 due to shoulder tightness, returned to action in the 7th inning. He gave up a run on a couple of hits, and required a line-drive double play to get out of the frame, but the important thing in these injurious times is that he’s back on the mound at all. The day wrapped up with Trevor Cahill, making his first appearance since rejoining the A’s and reminding us that there are still some options on the depth chart.
Not much happened for Oakland on the offensive side of the ball, but they did manage one rally in the 5th. Matt Chapman led off with a double, Jonathan Lucroy moved him to third with a groundout, and Boog Powell knocked him in with a sac fly. Marcus Semien stepped up next and launched his first homer of the spring. That’s everything you hope to see in one short, two-run burst — some extra-base pop, some timely productive outs, and scoring the runner from third with less than two outs.
A few notable performances in the box score:
- Triggs: 5⅓ ip, 3 runs (2 ER), 3 Ks, 0 BB, 6 hits, 2 HR
His longest outing of the spring so far, surely helped along by issuing no walks. The homers both came on cutters, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle; click through to read Triggs’ comments praising the work of Lucroy behind the plate.
- Montas: 1 ip, 1 run, 2 hits, 0 Ks, 0 BB
The plan this year has been to stretch him out as a starter, so getting back on the mound is a good first step.
- Cahill: 2 ip, 0 runs, 3 Ks, 2 BB, 0 hits, error on pickoff throw
He threw 36 pitches, says Slusser (linked above in Triggs section). Although he won’t be in the rotation to start the season, the debut outing went well enough that Slusser opined his ascension back to starting “might be relatively quick.”
- Semien: 2-for-4, HR, 2B, RBI, fielding error
He hadn’t notched an extra-base hit all spring, but he broke that streak in a big way.
The A’s have two more games left in Arizona before heading home for the Bay Bridge Series. They play the Angels on Friday, available on MLB.tv. Jesus Luzardo is scheduled to start.