03/03/2013 8:04 PM ET
Blackley staying loose after rough inning
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Just two days removed from a forgettable outing, Travis Blackley was not scheduled to throw a bullpen Sunday. But he did so anyway out of eagerness to get back on track.
Blackley faced eight Giants hitters and allowed seven to reach base in just 1/3 of an inning Friday, with all seven scoring.
"It's embarrassing," Blackley said. "It really is. At the same time, I had to keep positive knowing I'm still working stuff out. I'm pretty sure it can't get worse than that. I'm putting too much pressure on myself. Today, I just wanted to figure out a lot of things."
For starters, Blackley completely let go Sunday, something he was unable to do Friday after experiencing stiffness in his pitching forearm -- a new feeling for him he said was possibly a result of resting his arm longer than normal during the offseason before overdoing it in his first live batting practice session.
"I was really good that day, really pumped to face hitters," he said. "But then all of a sudden my forearm was real tight. It was better by Friday, but thinking that it was going to hurt, even though it didn't at that point, really affected me. I wasn't finishing the pitch. So today I just had to throw it all out of there and go at it, and she starting working again. I was able to trust everything again."
Blackley felt so good that he threw a handful of curveballs, his bread-and-butter pitch he had used just once until Sunday. His other pitches are better, he says, when he can throw the curveball for a strike.
The 30-year-old Aussie, who has a decent shot of making the team as a long reliever, hopes to continue throwing more bullpens in between his outings, just to stay loose. And he wants his next outing to come yesterday.
"I could do it today," he said. "It's just going to take one inning of three up, three down, and I'm back."
Sizemore leaves game after being hit by pitch
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Three A's players were hit by a pitch in as many innings Sunday, and one came out in worse shape than the others.
Second baseman Scott Sizemore suffered a left hand bruise in his third at-bat against Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood, and he was taken out the next inning when he experienced trouble getting a good grip on the bat.
Sizemore was seen leaving the A's clubhouse with his left hand wrapped, though he said in passing that it was "nothing too serious," or at least he hoped.
Manager Bob Melvin also wants to believes that's the case, telling reporters that it "didn't look like a fracture" but, rather, a minor soft-tissue injury. The A's will wait until swelling subsides in Sizemore's hand and determine Monday morning if he needs to have an X-ray.
The infielder has already had one too many tough breaks in his young career, missing all of 2012 while rehabbing from a torn ACL just two years after a broken ankle derailed his rookie season with the Tigers.
"He's a tough kid," Melvin said. "He's had a couple of tough injuries in the last four years, and that's the last thing you want to see happen, but hopefully it's nothing too serious."
Sizemore is in battle, primarily with Jemile Weeks, for the second-base job this spring, and he did his part Sunday by notching two hits in his first two at-bats, after collecting just one in his previous 10 at-bats.
"He's working hard, hadn't gotten many results, even though he was hitting some balls hard," Melvin said, "and so it's always nice to get a couple of hits and feel good about staying with the plan that you have."
Griffin happy, but not too happy, with Sunday outing
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Though A's manager Bob Melvin liked what he saw from A.J. Griffin's second spring start, the pitcher was not as pleased with his work against the Rockies.
Upon hearing this, Melvin smiled.
"It shows he's trying to get better," Melvin said. "If he thought there were a few pitches up in the zone, and that doesn't sit well with him, that's a good thing. I'm glad to hear he thought there were some issues with it, but from our perspective, I thought he threw the ball well."
Griffin did well on paper, allowing just one run -- credited to Rockies designated hitter Nolan Arenado, who tagged him for a second-inning solo shot -- on three hits with no walks and one strikeout. All other outs came in the air, though, leaving Griffin believing there is plenty work to be done.
"It could've been lot better if I kept the ball down," he said. "I got a lot of fly balls and like to see more ground balls. Mentally I have to be more focused, but, overall, I was aggressive going after guys, and like that I didn't walk anyone.
"I don't like giving up home runs, but I hate walking people more than giving up home runs. I'd rather have the guy have to beat me than give him a free pass, especially right now. In the season, if it's a certain situation, obviously you want to be smarter about it, but right now I'm just going after guys trying to get ready."
Griffin, most likely pegged for the fourth spot of the A's rotation, threw 48 pitches Sunday and felt good about the progress he was making toward being season-ready. That process, he said, becomes easier with each pitch he throws.
"I felt like I was sharpest in the last inning, making more quality changeups and having a better feel for the curveball," he said. "I just primarily want to get my fastball command going, because that's the most important one."
• Right-hander Andrew Carignan, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, was reassigned to Minor League camp Sunday. It is possible that more cuts will come Monday.
• Though the A's have an off day Wednesday, each of their starting pitchers will remain on schedule. That means right-hander Jarrod Parker will throw in Minor League camp Wednesday.
On Tuesday, with the A's facing split-squad action for the first time this spring, righty Bartolo Colon will start on the road against Kansas City, while lefty Brett Anderson remains at home to pitch against Team Italy.
• A's outfield prospect Michael Choice started in right field Sunday, rather than at his natural position in center. That did not take away from his comfort level at the plate, though, as Choice collected his 11th hit of the spring, spanning 20 at-bats. His .550 average leads the Cactus League.