— Johnny Cueto went over the 50-pitch mark in his second spring training start Monday night -- a welcome sight for the Giants given what happened on pitch one.
Cueto was struck by a comeback line drive that appeared to catch him on the right side of his forehead before ricocheting into center field. The Giants’ No. 2 starter and top winter acquisition dropped to his knees briefly and was checked by Giants trainers before remaining in the game and completing three innings against the A’s.
Cueto later returned to Scottsdale Stadium and was examined by team doctors. Manager Bruce Bochy said Cueto has a forehead bruise but was showing no signs of a concussion.
“There’s nothing that scares me more than that, what happened, that line drive up the middle,” Bochy said. “First night game, first pitch of the game, I’m sure he just didn’t recognize it off the bat. That’s a scary moment. I was just hoping it was what it was, more of a glancing blow. Still, it caught him pretty good.”
Bochy appeared to be out of the dugout and walking toward Cueto before the play had even ended. Trainer Dave Groeschner also visited the mound, where Cueto told them he thought he’d deflected Billy Burns’ liner with his glove. Bochy said the staff told Cueto he did not have to stay in the game, but Cueto was “adamant” about doing so.
“He responded well out there, that’s why he stayed in the game,” Bochy said. “He answered all the questions. He wanted to stay out there.”
Cueto allowed an infield single and three-run homer to his next two hitters but didn’t give up another run. Bochy said the Giants would continue to monitor Cueto for concussion symptoms Tuesday. Burns said seeing his line drive hit Cueto “shocked me for a second,” and he was relieved to see Cueto stay in the game.
“I thought that was very commendable for a guy that just got hit in the head,” Burns said. “Doesn’t matter how soft a guy hits it, a baseball hits you in the head, that hurts and that will knock you dizzy a little bit. Anyway, I hope he’s OK.”
Gray sharp — A’s starter Sonny Gray had a less hazardous outing than Cueto and looked sharp pitching into the fifth inning in Oakland’s 10-3 win over the Giants. Gray allowed two runs on four hits in 4 2/3 innings with no walks and four strikeouts, mixing in all of his pitches in his second spring training start.
“We threw everything today,” Gray said. “We kind of treated it like a regular-season start -- it’s a pretty good atmosphere, always it when you play these guys, no matter where we pay. We threw everything and got some really good work in, I think.”
Gray worked with catcher Stephen Vogt for the first time in a game this spring as Vogt, who’s returning from arthroscopic elbow surgery, made his spring debut behind the plate. Vogt said he had “a lot of adrenaline” for the start and that it’ll be important for him to get regular innings catching now to prepare for the season.
“There were some things tonight like my timing -- I was a little jumpy when they called breaking balls as far as going down too early, anticipating a little too much,” Vogt said. “Still a little jumpy with some of the receiving stuff, getting caught in between, but for the most part I felt great. It’ll be good to get some consistent playing time.”
Vogt did not have to test his arm by throwing to the bases outside of warm-up throws between innings.
“A couple of them I felt like I didn’t have time to get loose,” Vogt said. “That’s kind of where it is right now, in that takes-a-while-to-get-warm kind of phase. But for the most part it felt great. I had no complaints.”
Big swing — Josh Reddick hit the three-run homer off Cueto in the first inning and said it was particularly welcome after he felt he did not have good at-bats in Saturday’s game.
“Today I woke up and spent an hour looking at my video from last year,” Reddick said. “Swings felt good tonight. I guessed right and hit the ball on the barrel four times. Can’t ask for a much better spring training day than that.”
Oddly enough Reddick, who has a history of making highlight-reel defensive plays in spring games against the Giants, did not have one in a strong defensive game for the A’s that included a pair of diving catches by Burns in center field and diving stops by Chris Coghlan and Yonder Alonso on the infield.
“It seemed like a whole defensive highlight,” Reddick said. “I missed that memo.”
Parker update — A’s right-hander Jarrod Parker will see Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Tuesday for further tests on his arm, manager Bob Melvin said. Parker, who re-fractured the medial epicondyle in his right elbow last Thursday, is scheduled to have a CT scan and X-rays.
“We won’t know anything for a few days,” Melvin said.
Parker was around the team Sunday, including watching several innings from the dugout. Melvin, though, said Parker gave no indication about his thoughts on continuing to pitch and the two did not discuss Parker’s future.
“I know he feels good around the group of guys,” Melvin said. “He seemed to be in good spirits yesterday, and the guys were happy to see him.”