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Elephant Rumblings: Mark Kotsay delivers updates as A’s spring camp opens

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Oakland Athletics Spring Training Workout

It’s a great weekend, Athletics Nation!

We are on our way to spring training! The A’s have opened up their Arizona camp as of Friday and some players have already arrived, with a mandatory report date of March 13 for all players. This is ahead of the team’s first spring training game March 18, and Opening Day on April 8.

As the gears start turning and training camp has begun picking up, some tidbits have already begun spilling out of Hohokam Stadium, many coming from A’s first year manager Mark Kotsay. The new skipper has only been able to contact his players for less than 48 hours at this point. While Kotsay was part of previous A’s manager Bob Melvin’s coaching staff for the last six seasons and has a rapport with the players over that span, his appointment to the role of manager happened during the lockout, meaning he was barred from reaching out to any of his roster.

Now that the CBA is signed and the lines are open, who was his first call? Matt Olson, of course. The A’s slugging first baseman is embroiled in possible trade talks as the team is reportedly looking to shed some payroll, and Olson could fetch a prized return. To Kotsay, reaching out to Olson first makes sense, as the manager is focused on gearing his guys up for the season and keeping trade rumours to the peripheries.

Some other scoops from the skip include some potential issues and hangups regarding the roster. First, while Sunday marks the mandatory report date to Arizona, outfield prospect Luis Barrera and pitching prospect Wandisson Charles will miss that date due to visa complications.

In addition to late spring arrivals, the A’s third series of the regular season is in Toronto, and according to both border restrictions and the freshly signed CBA, all players entering Canada require full vaccination. While Kotsay can vouch for the coaches, the vaccination status of all A’s players hasn’t yet been confirmed. Any player who can’t make it to the games against the Jays will be temporarily placed on the Restricted List for the series and will meet back up with the team in Oakland.

Lastly, for the players that have already arrived in Arizona (some from the minors camps running since late February, some just quick to arrive post-lockout) some pitchers have already started throwing bullpens, and Kotsay complimented pitchers A.J. Puk and Brent Honeywell. Other players to keep in mind are outfielder Ramon Laureano, who is available for spring training before finishing his suspension for the first 27 games of the regular season; and shortstop Elvis Andrus, who is just finishing recovery from a surgery last autumn.

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