morning afternoon, Athletics Nation!
Spring training is officially over for 2021! At least, the MLB portion of it, with Oakland A’s players heading to the Bay Area to prepare for Opening Day on Thursday against the Houston Astros — with 11,000 fans in the Coliseum stands!
The 26-man roster is almost decided, with only one spot still up for grabs, and you can check out the links below in the A’s Coverage section for all the latest updates. To catch up on the final few spring exhibition games plus some video highlights and key interviews, check out the Cactus League section.
But first, a piece of tragic news from last week.
Mike Bell dies at 46
Minnesota Twins bench coach Mike Bell died Friday at the age of 46, the team announced.
The entire Minnesota Twins organization is saddened by the death of current bench coach Mike Bell, who passed away today at the age of 46 from cancer.— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) March 26, 2021
At the request of the Bell family, we will play tonight’s game in honor of Mike. pic.twitter.com/3Eq2N08aUO
Bell was the Twins bench coach in 2020, but was diagnosed with kidney cancer after the season and underwent surgery in January.
As a player he was a 1st-round draft pick, and played 19 games for the Cincinnati Reds in 2000. He later spent 13 years in the Arizona D’Backs organization, as a minor league manager and then a front office executive as high as VP of Player Development.
Mike was a member of the well-known Bell family, who has been part of MLB for generations. His brother David played more than a decade and is now the Reds manager; his father Buddy was a player and manager who now works in the Reds front office; and his grandfather Gus was a four-time All-Star player.
- Johnson (Biz Journals): How will opening day work? And what’s the latest on a new A’s stadium? We asked Dave Kaval
- Chris Bassitt named A’s Opening Day starter for 2021
- Mike Fiers will begin 2021 season on injured list
- Nico: Eyeball Scout On Puk’s Saturday Breeze-a-Thon
- Nico: Daulton’s Turn To Be Under Eyeball Scout’s Microscope
- Aramis Garcia and Jed Lowrie make A’s 2021 roster; bullpen update after third round of spring cuts
- Ka’ai Tom and Burch Smith make A’s 2021 roster
- A’s send down 6 players in third round of spring cuts
- A’s option Vimael Machin and Seth Brown to Triple-A
- Oakland A’s made a surprise cameo at end of Saturday Night Live
MLB News & Interest
- Rome: Astros’ Myles Straw scratched from lineup due to COVID-19 protocols
- Hayes: Randy Dobnak’s ‘incredible’ rise continues after agreeing to five-year extension with Twins ($$$)
- Today in Baseball History
- Spring Game #24: Lowrie, Piscotty, Chapman homer, but Montas leaves early
- Spring Game #25: Cole Irvin dominates Dodgers in pursuit of roster spot
- Spring Game #26: A.J. Puk passes test in final preseason audition
- Spring Game #27: Daulton Jefferies strong again as A’s thump Giants
- Spring Game #28: A’s wrap up Cactus League against Giants
- Checking in on some former A’s entering 2021 season
Zombie Lowrie makes the team!
BoMel says the A's will continue to monitor Jed Lowrie's health as he comes back from offseason knee surgery. He's been impressed with how Lowrie's looked this spring. pic.twitter.com/dlD4xxemSR— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) March 27, 2021
Get ready for more of this wonderful, familiar sight
And also it turns out we got more than just Elvis Andrus and cash in the Khris Davis trade
BoMel says catcher Aramis Garcia earned his spot with his strong spring training numbers in the box and ability to guide young pitchers pic.twitter.com/n8klAN1OTt— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) March 27, 2021
The 3 Amigos
No kneed for panic
Sergio Romo limped off the field because has a "trick knee" which is something he's dealt with before.— Shayna Rubin (@ShaynaRubin) March 27, 2021
"I think his trick was he didn't want to go out for the next inning," Bob Melvin joked.
It’s usually annoying when your phone autocorrects your text to “Duck!” but in this case it would still work
The A's scored nine runs against Clayton Kershaw in tonight's Cactus League game. They'll probably see him in Oakland in a couple weeks when it counts.— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) March 27, 2021
Time to start getting excited about Nick Allen
Melvin on Nick Allen @nickallen10_: "He looks like a different guy at the plate. We've always known he's a special-caliber infielder, especially at shortstop. He's really shown that he can play second base too…But I think he looks like a completely different player offensively."— Athletics Farm (@AthleticsFarm) March 28, 2021
Nice knock by an NRI
Two generations of A’s radio broadcasters!
Best of Twitter
Update on county’s upcoming move to Orange Tier, expected this week (which would increase Coliseum allowance from 20% capacity to 33%)
A clarification here: While the % limit allowed by state would increase, there's still a six-foot distance requirement for seating pods. So at least to start, the A's would not open up more seats even under orange tier - still a 11,020 capacity.— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) March 27, 2021
Meanwhile, on the less encouraging side
Here we go. Matt Barnes tests positive for COVID-19. Today’s starter, Matt Andriese, scratched due to possible exposure. Others could be forced to isolate. All of this coming five days before Opening Day. Sox scrambling to see who pitches final spring training games. #RedSox— Tom Caron (@TomCaron) March 27, 2021
Astros taking the scenic route to Oakland
The Astros were originally going to fly directly from Florida to the Bay Area for Opening Day but are now going to stop in Houston first to get players vaccinated through Houston Methodist. Dusty Baker said they'll fly to Oakland on Tuesday night.— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) March 29, 2021
Angels add a few relievers at the last moment — including re-signing Ramirez, whom they just traded away in December in the Raisel Iglesias deal (he was later cut by his new team)
Angels’ bullpen additions last two days: Noe Ramirez, James Hoyt, Steve Cishek, Tony Watson.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 30, 2021
Click the link in the tweet to learn more about Haley!
Haley Alvarez, a rising star in baseball with the @Athletics front office, began her career as a Steele Intern at the Hall of Fame. Read about her journey as we celebrate #WomensHistoryMonth https://t.co/VBt3uroTwk pic.twitter.com/DmWP3ozBWj— National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum ⚾ (@baseballhall) March 28, 2021
A wonderful story!
After working as a sportswriter for 50+ years, Dave Kindred and his wife Cheryl moved home to central Illinois. “I went to a girls high school] basketball game. And like the old war horse, I couldn’t sit there and not write about what I saw,” says Kindred. https://t.co/1OlhcsUXvt pic.twitter.com/q6hennW3Rf— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) March 28, 2021
Only a couple more days until we get to watch this crew on TV again!
Apparently our studio crew lasted...— Brodie Brazil (@BrodieNBCS) March 26, 2021
All. Winter. Long! pic.twitter.com/wyFzoN8o97
Bryan is one of the greatest fans the A’s could ever hope to have
I have no words to express my gratitude for this completely unexpected gift. I’ve never seen a player play the game I grew to love with as much heart and hustle as Ramón! Best bday gift ever! pic.twitter.com/CMSThBRjKY— Bryan (@SandLot408) March 26, 2021
... with a particular specialty for outfield signs
There’s beautiful banners...then there’s beautiful people. Why not have both! In honor of the late Dick Callahan, we hang this one up this year in his honor! pic.twitter.com/gdigCVQVQ3— Bryan (@SandLot408) March 26, 2021
Two days until Opening Day!