Melissa Lockard and Kimberly Contreras contributed to this report.
Minor League Camp Begins
The Oakland A’s 2014 minor league spring training camp officially opened this week when pitchers and catchers reported to Papago. Position players report next week.
The arrival of the A’s minor league batteries signaled the end of the pitching portion of the minor league mini-camp. Both A’s minor league pitching coordinator Scott Emerson and A’s Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman were pleased with the progress made by the pitchers and catchers enrolled in the mini-camp.
“All the pitchers came in in great shape,” Emerson said. “I saw improvement in all pitchers. It was a lot of fun watching the improvement all the guys have made.”
Several of the pitchers that participated in the mini-camp were used in big league spring training games. Starter Zach Neal had a memorable 1.2 inning scoreless outing in a win for the A’s last week. Ryan Dull (0.2 IP), Seth Frankoff (1 IP) and Jeff Urlaub (1.1 IP) have also had scoreless appearances in big league spring games.
On the position-player side of the roster, several mini-camp participants have logged time in big league spring games. Max Muncy had an RBI single in his only at-bat, while Daniel Robertson has a hit in three at-bats. Jake Goebbert has a hit in seven at-bats and he has walked twice, while Alden Carrithers has a hit in six at-bats. Anthony Aliotti and Billy McKinney are each hitless in two at-bats. Ryan Lipkin,Matt Olson and Beau Taylor have all appeared in games but have not yet received an at-bat.
The A’s play their first minor league spring training game on March 10. For the full spring schedule for A’s minor leaguers, please click here. This will be the A’s last spring training at their Papago Park complex.
Walz, Voiro Retire
Two familiar names are not on the list of pitchers who have reported to A’s minor league camp this week. Right-handers T.J. Walz and Vince Voiro informed the A’s this off-season that they are retiring from baseball.
Walz was the A’s 15th-round pick in 2011 out of Kansas. The right-hander had a 1.99 ERA and a 43:10 K:BB during his pro debut season in 2011 for short-season Vermont and Low-A Burlington. Walz jumped to High-A for his first full pro season and he acquitted himself well, posting a 3.16 ERA and a 112:36 K:BB in 99.2 innings.
Because of a backlog of relievers in the upper-levels of the A’s system, Walz repeated at High-A in 2013. He struggled with his location for much of the year and saw his ERA rise to 6.13. He walked 32 in 61.2 innings. Walz still had good stuff, however, as evidenced by his 73 strike-outs. Walz was a three-time Academic All-Big 12 in college. He majored in Business.
Voiro was the A’s 15th-round pick in 2012 out of Penn. The New Jersey native spent his pro debut season pitching for the A’s Arizona Rookie League squad. He had a 3.62 ERA and a 41:8 K:BB in 37.1 innings for a team that made it to the championship game.
Last season, Voiro split his time between the rotation and the bullpen for Low-A Beloit. In 100.2 innings, Voiro had a 3.67 ERA and a 69:44 K:BB. He allowed just three homeruns and helped the Snappers reach the post-season.
Voiro earned his degree from Penn before turning pro.
68 Pitchers and Catchers In Camp
Including those that were already at Papago for mini-camp, the A’s have 56 pitchers and 12 catchers in camp. Below is the list: