Melvin on young pitchers: 'We look at them as veterans'
Yoenis Cespedes hit each of his final three batting practice pitches over the center field fence Thursday. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
PHOENIX -- Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes took three final swings to end his batting practice session on Thursday. With each mighty hack he let out a loud roar as he violently smashed each pitch. In a flash, all three balls shot way over the outfield wall into a parking lot behind Papago Park.
If you are coming to to see the A's practice, it is probably not a good idea to park behind field No. 1.
"It looked like there were some really nice cars out in that way back parking lot, like they are safe out there, that's not necessarily the case," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
The skipper paid extra attention as the balls flew out of the yard. He was the one throwing them, after all.
"I took a beating today," Melvin said. "I really didn't think I would based on the conditions."
Earlier in the day Melvin was ribbing Cespedes about how he has a different bat for each batting practice session. Cespedes got the last laugh. He is on fire this spring.
Jarrod Parker and Sean Doolittle threw live batting practice to a group consisting of Cespedes, Chris Young, Coco Crisp, and Hiro Nakajima. With a large crowd gathered around for the contest, the young righty dazzled. No one hit anything square against him. Crisp was the first one to make contact.
Next up was Sean Doolittle. He had similar success. Crisp and Nakajima each stepped out of the cage after facing Doolittle, looked at each other with a smile and shook their heads. At this point in the spring, pitchers are usually ahead of hitters and that was the case on Thursday.
"I watched Parker, who looked really good today," Melvin said. "Doolittle was really working on his breaking ball and today had a really good one that he could get down and in to a righty."
As Doolittle was finishing his session Josh Donaldson stepped in to face the lefty, but he had already reached his pitch limit. Donaldson taunted Doolittle, claiming the hard-throwing reliever was scared to face him.
"They told me you weren't throwing very hard today so they put me on the curveball machine," Donaldson said to Doolittle.
The Arizona Diamondbacks facilities were temporarily inoperable because of the hail storm on Wednesday. Their solution? Call the A's. Billy Beane and Kevin Towers are friends and the A's agreed to let the D'backs practice at Papago Park after they were done.
Former A's Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Cahill were the first to arrive. They took their own car and were eager to see their old teammates. Melvin, Chip Hale, and the rest of the A's coaching staff spent a bit of time talking to the D'backs staff. Chris Young also stopped over and chatted with his former teammates.
The A's and D'backs have done a lot of swapping lately, so the two teams are very familiar with each other.
Saturday at Milwaukee: Jesse Chavez, Justin Thomas, Bruce Billings, Mike Ekstrom, Arnold Leon, Fernando Rodriguez
Sunday at LA: Travis Blackley, Brian Gordon, Kyler Newby, Pedro Figueroa, Chris Resop, Pat Neshek
Monday vs. Cleveland: Andrew Werner, Sonny Gray, Evan Scribner, Hideki Okajima, Jordan Norberto