Earlier this week I posted my thoughts on A’s FanFest, if you missed that you can see that here. As part of FanFest I was lucky enough to be invited to be a part of the BlogFest portion of the day. Myself and 14 other bloggers got to sit down with Manager Bob Melvin, GM Assistant David Forst and Third base Coach Mike Gallego in a press conference style interview. The first 15-minute interview was with Bob Melvin and he touched on Scott Sizemore, Daric Barton and Hiro Nakajima. (For those of you wondering I did not get in my own question since I shied up)
He was first asked about what he would be looking for from Jemile Weeks and Scott Sizemore in Spring Training this year and he had this to say:
Well, first and foremost, I like that we have some competition here. And I think that for both those guys in Spring Training it’s important because they’re playing for their job right there and you really see what kind of shape some body comes in, what kind of desire, the attitude they’re gonna take towards that. Now they’re not the only two guys. Certainly, Adam Rosales can play everywhere. It almost works against Rosey some that he is so versatile and can play other positions. And you know Grant Green is going to get some at-bats over there as well, Eric Sogard. So we have some options over there. As we sit here right now, probably the two most prominent options are Weeks and Sizemore. I think it’s nice that we have some competition and the versatility plays in to our club as well and that Scotty can play third and we can move some guys around to try and get our best line up on a particular day. But both those guys will be in a competition type mode in Spring Training.
And in regards to Sizemore’s injury and Weeks’ struggles:
In the case of Scotty who played a full year at third, got hurt and now he’s going back to second base you want to make he gets comfortable over their first. And you don’t start evaluating right away on him because you know it’s going to take some time for him to be comfortable. It’s not uncommon for a guy who had a rookie year like Jemile had to not have as good a year as next year. And I think even though it was difficult for him certainly last year he’ll probably benefit from that going forward. With his mind set each and every day coming into second base. It’s easy to read your press clippings and “I’m the untouchable guy”, I’m the guy that’s the lead off guy”, “And I have second base as my job”. For a younger guy, that can be… and it’s not his fault. A lot of younger players have to go through that, that can be dangerous. But, I know, and I’ve talked to him recently, he is really looking forward and knowing that he still has an opportunity and grateful for that. I think you’ll see a different Jemile Weeks this spring.
When he was asked whether or not they will change their strategy this year from last year, Melvin had this to say:
We put together our coaching staff because they are good instructors, they teach very well and we knew with the influx as many young players as we had last year we were going to have to do some coaching. That doesn’t change. The mindset for myself, my coaches in our rhetoric to the players is we have to even work harder this year. Certainly we want to bring the success and the confidence that we gained in 2012 forward. But knowing just because you did that doesn’t mean you throw your glove out there and just play and that things are going to work out for you. So, we’re going to work just as hard, we’re going to try to remain, as far as our Spring Training concept, pretty much the same. We add and subtract each and every day depending on what we accomplish on a particular day. But they’re going to know that that remains the same and during the season as well. We did an awfully lot of early work, guys that didn’t play on a particular day, were real flexible and guys who might not be playing 8, 10, 12 days in a row and therefor gives us some time to combat some things, some ruts you can get into a little bit. As a staff they’re going to know we’re just as committed this year as we were last year. But also try to ride the momentum from last year, the experience that we gained.