Zito fought the elements on Sunday.
Inside, find out about Barry's latest spring adventures on the mound, the newest A's cuts from camp and the details on the A's Sunday win over the Chicago Cubs...
Barry Zito figures that in six spring training starts, a pitcher gets to experience just about everything that will happen in the regular season. That's been especially true for him this spring.
Zito had a start where he had two long delays between innings because the offense kept scoring runs.
He had a start where it was so quiet, it was like pitching in a library. His next start will be a night game, the A's only one of the spring.
Then he had a start Sunday when it was 50 degrees at first pitch, cold, windy, and there was a muddy mound.
Zito likely will encounter similar cold weather on Opening Night in Oakland, then in his second start at Seattle.
"It was good to get one of those in," Zito said. "It will be cold for sure in Seattle. Hopefully, we'll get some good weather in Oakland."
Zito, in his third-to-last start before Opening Night, had the longest stint of any A's starter this spring with six innings pitched. Zito allowed six hits, three walks, three runs and struck out three. The strike zone appeared tight throughout the game, and on two of Zito’s walks, it appeared he had struck the batter out before the walk was issued, only to get squeezed by the home-plate umpire.
A's Make More Cuts
RHPs Shane Komine and Matt Roney were optioned to Triple-A Sacramento, while RHP Jason Karnuth, C Kurt Suzuki and INF Andrew Beattie were sent to Oakland's minor league camp. Komine was impressive in two of his three outings and he will be watched closely this season. He will be in the running with Dan Meyer and Kirk Saarloos for the A’s fifth starter slot in 2007 (assuming Zito doesn’t re-sign). Komine has the best curveball in the A's system and can throw his fastball in the low to mid-90s. He is expected to be a part of the Sacramento rotation.
UT Andrew Beattie had two hits in 11 at-bats in his first Oakland A's camp. He also made a number of impressive defensive plays. The non-roster invitee should return to Sacramento for a second year.
Roney made four appearances for the A's in Cactus League play, allowing three runs (one earned) in 5.2 innings. Roney walked five (including four in one outing) and struck out two. Roney was signed this off-season after splitting last year split between Detroit and Texas and is on the A's 40-man roster. Karnuth allowed seven runs (four earned) in 4.2 innings. The former Cardinal was a non-roster invitee to camp.
Suzuki was 3-11 in camp this spring, his second with the A's. He should be in AA-Midland this season after a strong year in A-Stockton in 2005. With Suzuki down in minor league camp, the only catchers remaining in A’s camp are Jason Kendall, Adam Melhuse, John Baker and Jeremy Brown. Speaking of Kendall, he threw out another runner trying to steal second in the first inning on Sunday. Kendall’s throws have looked much better this spring, as he has been releasing the ball quicker and his throws have been more on a line.
--UT Freddie Bynum is out of options, but there doesn't appear a spot for him on the A's opening day roster, barring an injury. Bynum is showcasing himself well for the other 29 teams, hitting .379, slugging .690 and playing solid defense in the infield and outfield. "He's having a great spring," A's manager Ken Macha said. Bynum could take the spot of Bobby Kielty or Frank Thomas should their injuries linger through Opening Day. Bynum flashed his plus-plus speed twice this weekend, burning his way around the basepaths for a triple on Friday versus the Angels and swiping a bag against the Cubs on Sunday.
--2B Mark Ellis homered for the second straight game and fourth time this spring, the second-highest total on team behind 3B Eric Chavez. Ellis, despite hitting ninth and leadoff most of the season, was the surprising slugging-percentage leader on the A's a year ago. His homer came on the first pitch of the game versus Jerome Williams. He later lined out and singled before being lifted mid-game.
--RHP Dan Haren is scheduled to face good friend and former Pepperdine teammate Noah Lowry on Tuesday when the A's and Giants meet.
--CF Mark Kotsay, who missed the previous three games due to back tightness, originally was to be in the starting lineup Sunday. He was scratched as a precaution because of a wet field.
--The A’s were scheduled to play a split-squad game on Sunday, but their game at Phoenix Municipal quickly became a full-squad game when the game at Tempe was rained out. Prospect Daric Barton was called up from minor league camp to make the start on Sunday versus the Cubs, but he was pulled mid-way through the game when Dan Johnson returned from Tempe and was put into the game. Barton grounded out and walked in his two plate appearances.
--INF Antonio Perez had four hits and two runs Sunday. Perez has played better than the A's thought at third, and he's impressed the coaches with his approach at the plate, in particular the way he stays inside the ball. Perez made a couple of nice plays this past weekend at third, including another on Sunday when he charged a ball deep in the hole between third and short and threw out a fast runner. 2B Keith Ginter also made a nice diving stop of a low-line drive in the 8th inning of Sunday’s game.
--LHP Joe Kennedy, whose teammates were telling him that he shouldn't take a scoreless streak into the season, gave up his first run Sunday. The run was earned, but was mostly due to Kennedy’s misplay of a bunt to lead-off the inning. Adam Greenberg led-off against Kennedy and put a drag bunt down the first base line. Kennedy stumbled trying to get to the ball and just missed throwing out the speedy Greenberg. He would have likely made the play had he not slipped.
--CF Charles Thomas made another outstanding running catch to help Zito and the A's on Sunday. Thomas, who was spectacular in the field on Friday, ran down a deep drive to center that was hit over his head in the second inning of Sunday's contest.
--CL Huston Street had an easy 9th inning to close out the A's win over Chicago. Street induced two fly-ball outs and then recorded a four pitch strike out to end the game. It was only Street's fourth appearance this spring due to his time on the Team USA roster at the WBC. He struggled with his slider, but was able to use his new change-up to get a fly-out and got the slider over on the final pitch to record the punch-out. His fastball appeared to be in mid-season form, as did his characteristic warm-up routine, which includes two or three leaps on the front of the mound to get loose.
--RP Jay Witasick received a little help from his friends on Sunday, as Perez and Ginter both made nice plays on low line-drives to keep the bases clear for Witasick.
--RP Juan Cruz retired the only batter he faced Sunday on a line-out. He came on with a runner on base and two-outs.
--OF Matt Watson had an outstanding day at the plate on Sunday. In the line-up as a DH, Watson had two, two-out run-scoring hits. After a slow start this spring, Watson is now hitting .286 with five RBI in 21 at-bats.