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Spring Game #2: Prospects shine in A’s loss

Highlights from several A’s youngsters tonight

Oakland Athletics v Milwaukee Brewers
Nick Allen has tripled in every A’s game so far this spring
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s played their second game of 2022 spring training on Saturday. They didn’t win, but the important thing was the friends they made along the way.

The A’s put out a lineup full of fun top prospects, familiar taxi squad mainstays, and interesting non-roster candidates. The result was a 9-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, but it’s the Cactus League so the results don’t matter, and in the meantime all those young and/or bubble players got some live action on the field.

*** Click here to revisit tonight’s Game Thread! ***

The top story of the day was on the mound, where Sean Manaea proceeded with his scheduled start for Oakland despite being actively on the trade block. He could go any day, but for now he’s still here and he needs to warm up for whatever uniform he’ll be wearing next month, so he took his turn.

The 1st inning was rough, as the Reds put up seven runs. Manaea faced six batters and allowed four singles and a walk with one strikeout, at which point he was pulled for a reliever. Later in the inning, former A’s catcher Aramis Garcia cashed in with a grand slam.

However, since the point of spring is to warm up, not to win games, the loose rules allowed Manaea to come back out for the 2nd inning. That frame went much better, as he breezed through in 15 pitches with just one stray single. He said the following, per Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle:

“At the end of the day, it’s just going out there and pitching, right? If I were to get traded or anything like that, it wouldn’t be any different. So those are just the things that I can control, just got to get ready for the season and get going.”

The box score looks grumpy, but don’t worry about that affecting Manaea’s trade value. All that mattered tonight was showing up healthy and leaving healthy, and he did both of those things. Other teams won’t care that he got BABIP’d in his first spring inning.

The A’s prospects scratched out a run here and there throughout the evening, but rather than rehash the play-by-play, let’s check out some video clips from Arizona baseball expert Kimberly Contreras.

Leading off the game was new outfield prospect Cristian Pache, and he lined a clean single up the middle. He struck out his other two times up, but one outta three ain’t bad.

In the 5th inning, top shortstop prospect Nick Allen launched a deep fly the other way and legged out a triple. That’s his second straight game with a triple!

Allen played second base tonight instead of his customary SS, but he still got a chance to flash his glove. Here he is turning a slick 1-4-3 double play with a speedy runner (Tyler Naquin) busting down the line to first.

Oakland put together a little rally in the 7th inning. New infield prospect Kevin Smith led off by bouncing a grounder up the 1B line for a single.

Soon the bases were loaded, and outfield prospect Mickey McDonald (out of San Mateo!) lined a single to drive home Smith for a run.

Infield prospect Zack Gelof, last year’s 2nd-round draft pick, nearly added to the damage but found a glove by accident. He smacked a liner the other way, but it went right at the first baseman to end the inning and strand ‘em loaded. The box score says he went 0-for-1, but we know he made some good contact.

As for the pitching, reliever Zach Jackson struck out the side in the 7th inning using some mid-90s heat.

Quick clips of a few more pitchers:

A few other notes:

  • RBI groundouts by utilityman Vimael Machin and lower-minors prospect Jordan Diaz, which counts as a productive at-bat. The team’s 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position was really more like 3-for-13 in successful results.
  • Top prospect Tyler Soderstrom got two more plate appearances, and drew a walk in one of them.
  • Friday’s hero Skye Bolt struck out twice, but also walked and scored.
  • Scoreless inning for lefty reliever Adam Kolarek.
  • Garcia hit a second homer for the Reds later in the game, finishing with five RBI total.

The loss shall be stricken from their permanent record in a few weeks, but the experience will be valuable for the prospects who got playing time, and as a bonus a bunch of them did cool things. See you tomorrow afternoon for another game!