The Oakland A's major league spring training camp will be run at a slightly accelerated pace this year, as the team prepares for its season-opening trip to Japan. However, it isn't only big league camp that will be seeing changes for the green and gold this year. This spring, the A's are introducing a minor league mini-camp. Thirty-one players (16 pitchers and 15 position players) have been invited to participate in the camp, which opens for pitchers on February 23 and for position players on February 28.
According to A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman, the camp will serve two main purposes: 1) to allow for some of the A's minor league starters to get a jump-start on their preparation for the season both for health purposes and to provide pitching depth for big league camp early in the March spring game schedule, and 2) to get certain position players on individualized hitting and defensive programs.
"Most of the pitchers are starters and the program will be used to provide individual instruction as well as allowing them the opportunity not to be rushed in getting ready for the season," Lieppman said in an e-mail.
"Some pitchers will be available to pitch in major league games if necessary. There always seems to be a shortage early in camp. We hope that this program will better serve the health needs of our pitchers."
The group of 31 players is a blend of recent draft picks and more experienced players who can be called on to play in major league spring training games. Lieppman also indicated that this camp will allow the A's to start their minor league spring training exhibition game schedule on March 12, roughly 10 days earlier than they normally begin that schedule.
Below is the complete list of players invited to the mini-camp: