SEEN: FORMER CY YOUNG WINNER STOPS BY
Aside from every player now reporting here to Arizona -- including Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie -- former Athletics greats were on hand at Phoenix Muni this morning, as was team owner Lew Wolff and GM Billy Beane.
Bob Melvin addressed the 2013 Athletics for the first time as a team and asked Bob Welch to be be a part of the meeting. The former pitching great will be helping the A’s minor league pitchers this spring, but today he was highlighted in front of the pros for his prolific career--which included 27 wins in a single season.
“We do like to try to celebrate our past here,” Bob Melvin beamed, “he’s a great resource for the younger guys, a great people person who loves putting on the green and gold.”
HEARD: ESPANOL SOLAMENTE
Despite the fact that he said he would be doing interviews in English by last July, Cespedes still relied on his interpreter Ariel Prieto this morning when doing interviews. The slugger joked that he was pushing his English Interview back to 2015 because he wants to keep Ariel employed.
I don’t think he needs to worry. Bob Melvin sees Prieto as more than an interpreter with the team, he sees him as a Coach.
“Plus, he can throw ambidextrous BP,” Melvin exclaimed.
Bo Mel also gives Cespedes credit for being as quick of a study in the English language, as he was at learning the ropes in left field.
After all, last time I asked Cespedes for an interview in English, he spelled it out for me perfectly, "Not a chance," he retorted with a chuckle.
MVP STATUS: BEYOND HIS YEARS
He just turned 19 last month, but according to Melvin, A’s prospect Addison Russell, “doesn’t look like a 19-year old from what we saw last year and looking at his numbers.”
The shortstop was drafted by the A’s last June in the first round with the 11th overall pick. And after an abbreviated season that started in Low-A, Russell was invited to join the pros -- making him the youngest player in baseball at Big League camp this spring.
But Melvin and company think Russell can handle the challenge of playing with the pros, “I had Justin Upton in Arizona,” Melvin explained, “and he was able to handle big league camp, and we think this guy can, as well.”
Melvin said he’ll try to work Russell in to situations where he can succeed early on.
AROUND THE HORN: AL WEST CHAMPIONS ARE BACK -- PIES AND ALL
Melvin addressed the AL West Champions with one message…
“Take pride in that title, but if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving back,” he told his players.
To celebrate what they accomplished last season, the team watched a 5-minute highlight reel… just enough for them to remember the taste of success, but not long enough to satisfy the hunger for more.
Naturally these food references beg the question--were pies included in the video?
"Oh c’mon. 15 walkoffs, there was some pie,” Melvin confirmed.