A's Notes: Projecting the rotation, Simmons shines

A's Notes: Projecting the rotation, Simmons shines
February 26, 2013, 12:00 pm
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In 29 starts last season, Jarrod Parker went 13-8 with a 3.37 ERA. (AP)

Programming note: Get up to date A’s spring training news on Raising Arizona, tonight at 7:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SCOTTSDALE -- The Oakland Athletics are starting to work in their regular starting pitchers. A.J. Griffin will be going first. He is expected to throw 30 pitches on Tuesday against the Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Griffin will be followed by Dan Straily on Wednesday. Brett Anderson takes the mound on Thursday. If you are projecting the A's starting rotation, there is a pretty obvious pattern forming.

Anderson, the A's most experienced available starting pitcher -- and longest tenured on the team -- could be in line to pitch on opening day. If they are staying in turn, Griffin and Straily would be the fourth and fifth starters.

Assuming the A's would go with an ideal lefty-righty-lefty top of the rotation, that slates right-handed pitcher Jarrod Parker throwing in the second game, and lefty Tommy Milone in the third game. Once Bartolo Colon has served all five games of his suspension they can decide where he slots in.

The A's skipper has yet to announce his rotation decisions, but the writing appears to be on the wall.

When asked about the possibility of being the Opening Day starter during report day, Anderson played it cool.

"That's not up to me, I'm just happy to be healthy," Anderson said. "Wherever they put me in, they put me in. I'm just going to try to go out there and do my job, but if that's the case, that'd be great too."

Take It Easy:

The A's have been bringing along their key pitchers slowly this spring to get their arms extra rest. The plan has served a dual purpose, as they've had the opportunity to look at some non-roster invitees and other minor league arms while resting the guys they already know a lot about.

"It's nice to see some of the other guys too and it gives them a chance to pitch," Melvin said. "Based on the fact that we've held these nine guys back, we've been able to see some of them."

James Simmons Shines:

One minor league camp guy that caught the eye of Melvin was reliever James Simmons. The 2007 first-round pick threw an inning on Sunday against the Angels and retired all three batters he faced.

"I think everybody can probably learn from what he did the other day," Melvin said. "Throw strike one."

Simmons threw three first-pitch strikes and got three quick outs. Melvin says pitchers have the edge early in the spring and when they can get ahead in the count they keep hitters guessing. Simmons, 26, pitched in the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars Game this year.

Simmons appeared in 30 games for Double-A Midland, and nine games for Triple-A Sacramento in 2012. He had a 2.98 ERA, 50 strikeouts and 22 walks last season with the RockHounds and River Cats.

"He was drafted in the first round for a reason. It means he has some ability," Melvin said. "It's certainly exciting for him. I know he was excited after the game the other day."

Simmons is on the list of pitchers scheduled to throw against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday.

Sentimental Skipper:

Melvin got sentimental when talking about watching players like Simmons and catcher Beau Taylor making their big league camp debuts.

"The first time I got to catch in a big league spring training game it was literally an out of body experience for me," Melvin said. "I saw myself walk out of my body, stand in front as I'm warming up the pitcher, going 'Are you kidding me?'"

A's Tuesday Lineup:

Eric Sogard 3B
Hiro Nakajima, SS
Josh Reddick, RF
Brandon Moss, 1B
Josh Donaldson, DH
Seth Smith, LF
Scott Sizemore, 2B
Derek Norris, C
Michael Choice, CF

The Arizona Diamondbacks gave the A's permission to use a designated hitter in their first two meetings.