The countdown to the 2009 major league baseball season has now officially begun, and the Oakland A's will first take the field this spring on February 25, the team announced this week. The A's will be spending their spring training schedule in their traditional home in Phoenix, Arizona. This year fans will have the opportunity to see even more A's spring training games, as the team will be playing a record 37 spring contests, as well as an exhibition against a World Baseball Classic team.
The A's schedule opens on the road in Maryvale against the Milwaukee Brewers. It will be the A's first opportunity to square off against former manager Ken Macha, who signed on to be the National League Wild Card team's manager on Thursday. After another road game against the Angels, the A's will open their spring home schedule against the Brewers on February 27th. The A's will play 18 home games this spring. As is tradition, Oakland will finish its spring schedule back home in the Bay Area with a three-game tilt against the San Francisco Giants in the "Bay Bridge Series." The A's regular season will begin a little later than normal this year, on April 6th.
The second World Baseball Classic will take place next spring. The first one caused a bit of a disruption for many teams' spring training plans, as the best players in the game are asked to leave their teams to play for their countries in the round-robin tournament. Rosters for the WBC will be announced later this winter.
There will be a few new faces in the Cactus League this season. The Cleveland Indians return to the desert after spending the past few decades in Florida. In addition, the Los Angeles Dodgers have moved their spring operations from Vero Beach, Florida, to Glendale, Arizona. As a result of having more teams in the league, the A's will play in only three split-squad games this spring.
The A's minor league camp, held at the team's minor league facility at Papago Park in Phoenix, begins when pitchers and catchers report on March 9th. Position players report on March 13 and the minor league spring games start on March 18 and run until camp breaks on April 6th. The full-season affiliate will begin their seasons on April 9th. Minor league camp is a great way for fans to get and up-close view of the next generation of Oakland A's talent, as the games and practices at Papago are free and open to the public.
The full A's major league game schedule is below:
2009 Oakland Athletics
Spring Training Schedule
Feb. 25 @ Milwaukee Brewers 12:05 pm
Feb. 26 @ Los Angeles Angels 12:05 pm
Feb. 27 Milwaukee Brewers 12:05 pm
Feb. 28 Cleveland Indians 12:05 pm
Mar. 1 @ Arizona Diamondbacks 12:05 pm
Mar. 2 Off Day
Mar. 3 @ Chicago Cubs 12:05 pm
Mar. 4 Chicago White Sox 12:05 pm
Mar. 5 World Baseball Classic (SS) 12:05 pm
@San Francisco Giants (SS) 12:05 pm
Mar. 6 Seattle Mariners 12:05 pm
Mar. 7 @ San Diego Padres 12:05 pm
Mar. 8 Cleveland Indians (SS) 1:05 pm
@ San Francisco Giants (SS) 1:05 pm
Mar. 9 Los Angeles Angels 1:05 pm
Mar. 10 @ Colorado Rockies 1:05 pm
Mar. 11 Off Day
Mar. 12 Arizona Diamondbacks 1:05 pm
Mar. 13 @ Cleveland Indians 1:05 pm
Mar. 14 San Francisco Giants 1:05 pm
Mar. 15 @ Los Angeles Angels 1:05 pm
Mar. 16 Los Angeles Dodgers 1:05 pm
Mar. 17 Arizona Diamondbacks 1:05 pm
Mar. 18 Off Day
Mar. 19 @ Texas Rangers 1:05 pm
Mar. 20 @ Cleveland Indians 1:05 pm
Mar. 21 San Francisco Giants (SS) 1:05 pm and @ Seattle Mariners (SS) 1:05 pm
Mar. 22 Chicago White Sox 1:05 pm
Mar. 23 Chicago Cubs 1:05 pm
Mar. 24 @ Kansas City Royals 1:05 pm
Mar. 25 @ Chicago White Sox 1:05 pm
Mar. 26 Off Day
Mar. 27 San Diego Padres 7:05 pm
Mar. 28 @ Milwaukee Brewers 1:05 pm
Mar. 29 Colorado Rockies 1:05 pm
Mar. 30 @ Los Angeles Dodgers 1:05 pm
Mar. 31 Kansas City Royals 1:05 pm
Apr. 1 Chicago Cubs 1:05 pm
Apr. 2 @ San Francisco Giants (AT&T Park) 7:15 pm
Apr. 3 @ San Francisco Giants (AT&T Park) 7:15 pm
Apr. 4 San Francisco Giants (Oakland Coliseum) 1:05 pm
*All times Pacific Standard Time.
Petit, Padron, Guzman Remain Hot In Venezuela
Oakland A's infielder Gregorio Petit is riding a six-game hitting streak and he has raised his average to .340 for the Caracas Leones of the Venezuela Winter League. Petit has demonstrated good power this winter, hitting six doubles and a homer in 47 at-bats for a .532 SLG. He had only a .344 SLG for Triple-A Sacramento this season and a .380 SLG in the minors in 2007
Fellow A's farmhands Raul Padron (.375/.444/.625 in eight games) and Jesus Guzman (.412/.508/.745) have also maintained their hot starts for Caracas. Guzman has been particularly impressive, sustaining a 8:9 BB:K ratio to go along with 38 total bases. Guzman is second in the league in OPS (1253), average and total bases. Padron's homerun on Thursday extended a streak of homeruns in a game for Caracas to 12. He has five RBIs in only 16 at-bats. A's farmhand and Caracas teammate Javier Herrera tripled in his only at-bat in his last game with Caracas on Wednesday. The hit broke an 0-for-9 skid for the outfielder.
A's third baseman Jeff Baisley is only 7-for-35 for the Tiburones de La Guaira with 13 strike-outs and only three walks. He homered on back-to-back days on October 16th and 17th, but he has managed only one extra-base hit (a double) since that time.
Kilby Recovering After Beaning
A's left-handed relief prospect Brad Kilby hasn't pitched for his Dominican League club, the Gigantes del Cibao, since being struck in the head by a line-drive off of the bat of Mendy Lopez. According to the Gigantes' official website, Kilby was not seriously injured. The injury was sustained on Monday, October 27th. Kilby pitched a scoreless inning in that game. His squad is 10-2 and leading the DWL at the moment.
Doolittle Red-Hot In Arizona
Through Thursday, A's first base prospect and 2007 supplemental first-round pick Sean Doolittle was tied for the Arizona Fall League lead in homeruns with six. The University of Virginia product is batting .309 with a 996 OPS and 17 RBIs in 18 games for the Phoenix Desert Dogs. His RBI total puts him tied for third in the league in that category. He is second in the league in extra-base hits. The Desert Dogs, who have made winning an annual tradition in Arizona, have pulled into first in the National division with a 12-8 record.
Right-hander Andrew Bailey is continuing to impress for Phoenix. He has allowed only one run in 6.2 innings and he has 10 strike-outs and has yet to walk a batter. Since allowing four hits in two innings on October 16, Bailey has given up only one hit in his last three innings pitched.
Catcher Josh Donaldson, who has played mostly at first base this fall, is batting .310 through 14 games. He has 10 RBIs. Infielder Adrian Cardenas is hitting .250 with five RBIs in 12 games. On the mound, reliever Jeff Gray has yet to allow a run in five innings of work. He has given-up one hit, although he has walked four, with three strike-outs.
Jared Lansford allowed four runs and walked three without recording an out on October 25th. He recovered to throw a scoreless inning on Wednesday. He hasn't allowed a run in any outing, except for that October 25th appearance. Andrew Carignan struck-out the side on Wednesday and he has nine strike-outs in six innings this fall. Carignan has saved two games and has a win. He struck-out 84 in 62.2 innings during the regular season.
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