ON THE MOUND: Coming back from elbow ligament replacement surgery, starter Nick Tropeano retired four Oakland batters while giving up three runs and four hits. He hit the first batter he faced — “You knew I had some nerves in me,” he said later. “I was real excited.” — and also surrendered a homer. But Tropeano reported no issues with his arm. His most recent big-league game came July 18, 2016. … Parker Bridwell, who like Tropeano is battling for a rotation spot, worked two brisk, scoreless innings. Of the 19 pitches Bridwell threw, 16 were strikes. … Rule 5 pick Luke Bard pitched a scoreless inning.
MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Oakland found its closer in Blake Treinen last summer, and its bullpen transformation continued when it acquired offseason targets Yusmeiro Petit and Ryan Buchter this winter.
For a team that had 25 blown saves, one short of the major league high, and converted only 58 percent of its save chances a year ago, it is another step forward.
“We feel like we’re a lot better,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said, “and we feel like we have a deep bullpen, too.
“We have a number of guys who can give us multiple innings now, where you are not having to go through one-inning guys and use so many guys during the course of a game.”
Everything starts with the closer, of course, and Treinen is ready to continue that role after recording 13 saves following his acquisition from Washington for veteran relief arms Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson in mid-July.
Treinen was used in a setup role upon arriving in Oakland before being given the ninth inning almost exclusively in early August. It took.
He converted his final 12 save chances last sesaon, starting when he finished off an 11-10 victory over the Los Angeles Angels with two strikeouts and a weak popout on Aug. 6.
Treinen had a 2.36 ERA in his 24 appearances from that point, with 31 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings.
“That’s my goal, to pick up where I left off last year,” said Treinen, 29 “My goal is to go out and get outs and give this team the best chance to win. Just try to get myself in a position to be successful.”
It was a satisfying conclusion to tough start with the win-now Nationals, who named Treinen the closer at the end of 2017 spring training but moved on when two bad outings in succession bumped his ERA into the nines.
His 5.73 ERA at the time of the trade had dropped to 3.93 by the end of the season.
“You learn from it,” Treinen said. “This is a business, and if you have any slip-ups things can change quickly. It’s in the past. It is nice to come out and have a team that has confidence in you.
“It’s a team in D.C. that needs to have results right away because it is a team that is built to win for the last decade. For someone to have to learn in that role, I don’t think it molds well. They need somebody experienced in that role. I don’t really want to dwell on the tough stuff, but it did shape me to continue to put my head down and work hard.”
Treinen, originally signed by the A’s in 2011, was traded to the Nationals in a three-team deal that brought John Jaso in 2013.
A starter early in his career, Washington converted him to the bullpen, and scouts have always believed his sinking fastball/slider repertoire played well there.
Treinen’s average fastball was 97.6 mph in 2017, according to Fangraphs, among the best in the league. Because of its sink, his ground ball to fly ball ratio was among the top 15 among relievers.
“It’s at a high velocity and it is moving quite a bit,” Melvin said. “There are very few guys that have the kind of ‘velo’ and movement.
“The stuff has always been there. I think the change of scenery from Washington to us kind of gave him a new breath and he performed really well for us. There is no reason for us make any change in that role.”
Petit and Buchter will add to a bullpen that includes veterans Santiago Casilla and Liam Hendricks, among others. Buchter is the lone lefty.
Petit, a rookie spot starter on Arizona’s 2007 NL West title team managed by Melvin, has developed into a reliever capable of wearing many hats. He had a career-low 2.76 ERA in a career-high 60 appearances with the Angels last season.
“He is probably as versatile a pitcher as there is in the game,” Melvin said. “If ever there is a fix-it-all (guy) and a guy that can pitch in any inning and doesn’t make any excuses about where he pitches, just wants to perform for the team, it’s him.”
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Photo: Susan Slusser/The Chronicle
A’s first baseman/DH Brandon Moss wearing the Stoneman Douglas High School hat all major-leaguers are wearing for their spring openers.
MESA, Ariz. – Those looking forward to seeing the most highly touted of Oakland’s big-name prospects won’t have to wait long: A.J. Puk is scheduled to pitch in Sunday’s game against the Royals at Hohokam Stadium.
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — San Diego Padres manager Andy Green says newly acquired first baseman Eric Hosmer won’t play in at least the first two spring games.
The Padres open their spring schedule against the Mariners on Friday before visiting the Oakland Athletics on Saturday. The Padres visit the Angels on Sunday.
Hosmer agreed late Monday to a $144 million, eight-year contract. His first workout with the team was Tuesday.
Green said eight pitchers are scheduled to get work Friday, including Tom Wilhelmsen, who will be facing his former team.
For more AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
MESA, Ariz. — Giants manager Bruce Bochy believes A’s manager Bob Melvin found a gem in Yusmeiro Petit.
Bochy managed Petit in San Francisco from 2012-15, utilizing the reliever in a multitude of roles over those four seasons that saw the Giants win two World Series titles.
“He was just a great teammate,” Bochy told Bay Area News Group. “He did whatever we asked and just filled in so many roles nicely. Whether it was long relief or helping out late in the ball game or giving us a spot start. He just goes about his business in a professional way.”
Petit signed with the Washington Nationals in 2016. It was a departure Bochy said was immediately felt in his bullpen, which went on to break a record for most blown saves in a season with 30 that year.
“He was missed when he left us,” Bochy said. “That’s a tough hole to fill. That long man spot-starter that can help you late in a game.”
A younger pitcher in his Giants days, Petit, 33, signed a two-year deal with the A’s this offseason and enters 2018 expected to be one of manager Bob Melvin’s primary options for the late innings.
With the experience he gained from their championship runs, Bochy expects Petit to also take on the role of a leader in the bullpen. It’s a role Bochy thinks will suit the right-hander perfectly.
“You look at how long he’s been around, I’m sure he’s going to assume that responsibility,” Bochy said. “That’s something he’ll be good at.”
MOSS TAKES MELVIN DEEP
Just before the end of Wednesday’s practice, Brandon Moss homered off manager Bob Melvin with a shot to straightaway center field.
“He’s been working on that here in the spring. He’s using the whole field and driving the ball,” Moss said. “It’s not often you see him go out to center field like that. I gave him a cookie.”
It was a good showing from Moss, who will be battling for a spot on the roster this spring.
The Athletics and Mariners are heading east next year — the Far East.
The two teams, who played a two-game series in Japan to begin the 2012 MLB season, will open the 2019 season in Tokyo. The San Francisco Chronicle first reported Wednesday the A’s are “eager” and “enthusiastic” about playing overseas.
“If we’re in the running, I’d be 100 percent all for it,” A’s manager Bob Melvin told reporters Wednesday, via the Chronicle. “Not only did we have a great time, it’s a life lesson as much as anything, but it significantly helped our team come together in 2012.”
The A’s also played the Red Sox in Tokyo in 2008 and veteran Brandon Moss was a member the Sox when the teams split a two-game set.
“I hit my first major-league home run, it was awesome!” Moss said, via the Chronicle. “I love Tokyo, I love Japan, I loved everything about it. I would go back in a heartbeat even without baseball.”