Good morning, Athletics Nation!
The Oakland A’s have begun their preseason preparation, but this is no ordinary spring training. In an effort to social distance during the coronavirus pandemic, Summer Camp 2020 has included only team workouts and intrasquad games, with no competition or interaction between clubs.
That will change next week. The A’s will play two exhibition games against the Giants, one at the Coliseum on Monday and then another in San Francisco on Tuesday, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. The home game will begin at 6:40 p.m. PT, televised on NBCS California, and the away matchup the next night will be at 6:45 on NBCS Bay Area; audio of both will be available on TuneIn streaming. See Slusser’s story to find out who might start for Oakland.
The return of live baseball will be a welcome sight. We last saw the A’s in action in the Wild Card Game in October, over nine months ago. We’ll get our first look at a contest with no fans in the stands, as well as no spitting or finger-licking, though also no Buster Posey after the Giants star catcher opted out of the season last week.
We’ll also hopefully get a preview of some of Oakland’s new players and prospects — and maybe at the revised hitting mechanics of second baseman Franklin Barreto. The 60-game regular season will begin for the A’s next Friday, July 24, as they’ll host Opening Day against the Angels.
One thing to keep an eye (ear?) on during the telecasts next week is what kind of sound the teams pump into their stadiums to replace the missing fans. One possibility is artificial crowd noise, but Slusser mentioned another option on Monday:
I’m kind of with Tony Kemp when he says he hopes the A’s keep playing music during games rather than crowd noise. It’s kind of a club vibe here - so two things no one’s been able to do, baseball and music/clubs at the same time.
Here’s a brief sample of baseball being played to background music:
Which would you prefer: Simulated crowd noise, or background music?
- Kawahara: A’s hitting ‘starting to come around’ after layoff ($)
- Kawahara: A’s, Giants working to kick their spitting, high-fiving, finger-licking habits ($)
- Slusser: Two A’s-Giants exhibition games set for next week
- Slusser: A’s Tony Kemp appreciates support from Bob Melvin, teammates for anti-racism initiative ($)
- Athletics’ Newcomer Tony Kemp Fits Right in as He Reaches Out to Talk About Racism
- Hickey: Barreto’s Strong Showing in Athletics’ Camp Could Mean Big Things for 2020
- Gallegos: Barreto ready for breakout? ‘He looks awesome’
- Hall: Franklin Barreto off to promising start in Summer Camp
- Hall: A.J. Puk cut off his hair, but Daniel Mengden’s mustache is back
MLB News, & Interest:
- Park: Byron Buxton (foot) carted off; club cautiously optimistic
- Wilson: Robinson Chirinos’ right ankle first major non-COVID concern of Texas Rangers camp
- McClure: Brian Urlacher, Travis Kelce, DeMarco Murray join Jennifer Lopez-Alex Rodriguez bid to buy Mets
- Boor: Here are the top Rookie of the Year candidates
- Castrovince: Here are the 10 best rotations in baseball
- Simon: The all-time All-Star Game starting lineup
- Today in Baseball History
Summer Camp video
Enjoy some batting practice from Monday’s workout at the Coliseum!
Bonus peek at the new high-five! Familiar to anyone who has ever worked in a kitchen.
Best of A’s Twitter:
At the very least, this is the absence of bad news
#Athletics mgr Bob Melvin can’t say much about Jesus Luzardo, who has tested positive for COVID-19. He does say this: "I can tell you he's itching to get back. He feels good. But, you know, you have to you have to test negative a couple times & that part of it I can't get into."— John Hickey (@JHickey3) July 13, 2020
The plot thickens in the competition for second base
Melvin says he’s not sure Pinder has made an out yet this spring. He’s hitting up a storm. Melvin says 2B decision could be straight platoon or he could play the hot hand.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 13, 2020
At least catchers will be protected?
Franklin Barreto is trying out wearing a mask in the field because he wants to ensure teammates’, opponents’ health but it did lead to some snafus in relaying signs last night. It’s a work in progress but it sounds like something he would like to do if he can.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 13, 2020
Bummer, but understandable
I’m again told, strongly, that the A’s will NOT have viewing parties in the lot when games start. Per health orders in Alameda County, it’s not something they can accommodate. The A’s have been consistent with this we’d-like-to-but-cannot message for weeks, for what it’s worth.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 13, 2020
Kemp continues to be a leader on the subject of race relations
... And he’s working on the field, too
Tony Kemp had some good work during the shutdown. Lance Lynn and Sonny Gray were among the pitchers he was facing and working out with back home.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) July 13, 2020
Astros get Manaealated
Best of MLB Twitter:
In case you forgot, the two sides are still negotiating some details
MLB and players’ union have reached agreement on a variety of previously unresolved issues regarding individual contracts, sources tell The Athletic. Deal covers how vesting options, roster bonuses and other clauses would be calculated in abbreviated 2020 season. Details to come.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 13, 2020
Not a promising development for a couple key young Astros
The Astros have placed Jose Urquidy and Yordan Alvarez on the 10-day injured list, according to the transaction wire. Neither man has been in summer camp with what manager Dusty Baker termed a "condition that prevents them from reporting to the field."— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) July 13, 2020
But on the bright side, another formerly positive player is back in action
Charlie Blackmon is back at Coors Field today to begin his summer training camp with the Rockies.— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) July 13, 2020
OK, enough good news, back to bummers. A 13th MLB player has opted out, though he was going to miss at least part of the season anyway while finishing his TJS recovery.
Speaking of elbows, hopefully this is nothing major
Servais said that Gerson Bautista won’t need surgery. It’s a strain in the flexor mass area of the elbow.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 13, 2020