SAN FRANCISCO -- A’s manager Bob Melvin said that when Kendall Graveman was told he’d officially made the starting rotation, Graveman’s reaction was "about the same (as) when he strikes out the side" -- which is to say, not very expressive.
Part of that is Graveman, who will make his first big-league start in the fourth game of the season, already had a pretty good idea he would start the season with the A’s. But it’s also that calm demeanor that has made an impression on Melvin and the A’s -- along with Graveman’s final spring ERA (0.36).
Graveman gave up a three-run homer to the Giants’ Buster Posey in the first inning of his final spring tune-up Friday night at AT&T Park, which came after a pair of infield errors. But despite more erratic command than he has shown for most of the spring, Graveman shook the home run off to hold the Giants scoreless over his final three innings, allowing one more hit and striking out six.
The right-hander did issue three walks and said he "didn’t pump as many strikes as I wanted to, didn’t get ahead of as many people as I wanted to, threw a lot of pitches. But it was one of those days you had to get out there and battle." Of the home run to Posey, he said: "That’s a situation where I’ve got to pick up my defense. They’re battling out there for me … I can’t give that up."
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None of the runs were earned, meaning Graveman finished the spring with one earned run allowed in 25 1/3 innings over six outings. He allowed 12 hits and struck out 17.
"I thought he did fine," Melvin said of Graveman’s outing Friday. "We’ve seen him have better stuff this spring, and early on typically is when you’ll get to a starter before he gets in his rhythm. Had some walks and got behind in some counts, which is a little bit unlike him, and then Posey actually hits a decent pitch … After that he pitched a lot better."
Graveman said he’s looking forward to making his A’s debut Thursday at the Coliseum. Pitching coach Curt Young actually delivered the news that Graveman would slot fourth in the rotation, while Melvin looked on. Graveman’s description of his reaction:
"It was an exciting time."
* The A’s played a sloppy game Friday night in a 4-0 loss that was not reflective of the way they’ve played most of the spring. They had two errors, narrowly avoided another when shortstop Marcus Semien fielded a ball booted by Tyler Ladendorf and threw out Posey at first base, and they stranded six runners while going 0-for-4 with men in scoring position.
“Really just a bad game for us overall,” Melvin said. “We’ve been swinging the bats, we’ve been playing great defense, we’ve been getting good pitching, and we just didn’t play a very good game today. We’ve been stringing I don’t know how many together where we really played well. Tonight was not one of those nights.”
* One positive from the game: Ben Zobrist started in right field and made a nice play on a ball that carried over his head off the jagged wall at AT&T Park. Zobrist turned, corralled the ricochet off the bricks neatly and threw the ball in, making the play look routine. If he is needed in right while Josh Reddick is out, the A’s should be OK.
* Melvin had encouraging news before the game on starter Jarrod Parker. Parker, who’s coming back from Tommy John surgery, threw about 40 pitches in two simulated innings Thursday and will pitch next in an intersquad game at High-A Stockton. Melvin said that is a sign the A’s are "close to getting him in regular games."
"If you watched him here recently, you’d say he was warming up for a regular-season start," Melvin said. "That’s how good he’s looked. He touched 93 (mph) the other day on the gun. Knock wood, everything’s going really well for him."
Melvin said it "wouldn’t be crazy" to think Parker could be back in the A’s rotation before the All-Star Break. He guessed A.J. Griffin, also returning from Tommy John, is about two to three weeks behind Parker in his recovery. Starter Sean Nolin, meanwhile, has faced hitters in controlled scenarios and is on roughly the same timeline as Griffin. Nolin had offseason hernia surgery.
* Melvin had no news about roster makeup but strongly indicated Billy Burns has a good shot at making the opening day roster. The speedy, switch-hitting Burns would help fill in while both Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick are out with injuries. The A’s hope Reddick can return by the sixth game of the season from an oblique strain.
* The A’s announced that all went well with Crisp’s right elbow surgery Friday. The A’s said in a release that Crisp had two loose bodies and a debridement of the elbow joint removed in the surgery, which was performed in San Francisco by Dr. Jon Dickinson.