Chapman 'good to go' after spring debut

A's third baseman a little rusty, but gets acclimated after sitting out with hand injury

March 4th, 2018

PEORIA, Ariz. -- 's spring debut went off without a hitch Sunday.

The A's third baseman, who missed each of the club's first eight games with right hand soreness, reported no issues swinging the bat. He went to the plate three times in Oakland's 12-4 road win over the Padres, flying out in his first two at-bats before drawing a walk in his final appearance.

"Definitely some rust to kick off," Chapman said smiling.

"A little rusty at the plate, which you can expect," A's manager Bob Melvin agreed, "but just get him in a game, and now he's on his way. Certain guys more so than others, he is definitely an impact guy for us, so you try to be a little conservative about when he comes back so that you hopefully don't have to deal with it again."

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The infielder received a cortisone shot to relieve inflammation around the sesamoid bone in his hand on Feb. 22 and was shut down from swinging for a week. Now he's playing catch-up ahead of his first full big league season, but he deemed Sunday a good start.

"Honestly, better than expected," Chapman said. "I think that cortisone shot has alleviated any fear I had in my mind. I think that first at-bat, you go up there not really sure what to expect, and everything felt great.

"It kind of gave me the confidence to go up there the next at-bat and feel good, and by the third at-bat I wasn't even thinking about it at all, so I think it's just going to keep getting better, and we'll stay on top of it and stay smart about it."

Chapman wore a thumb guard for protection and plans to stick with it so long as it doesn't affect his grip. He won't play in Monday's game, but should be back in action Tuesday.

"I'm ready to play as much as they want to," he said. "I'm sure I'm on a little different schedule, but I'm good to go."

Injury updates

Infield prospect , who has been missing from games because of a minor left knee sprain, could make his highly anticipated spring debut as soon as Tuesday, Melvin said.

Mateo, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization's No. 4 prospect, will have to pass one final test Monday before being cleared for games, with running and sliding drills on the docket.

(left hamstring) jogged and took ground balls Sunday, but he isn't close to returning to games, said Melvin, who also revealed that right-handed prospect is dealing with a shoulder issue. He was expected to throw from flat ground Sunday.

Also on the injured list: (shoulder) and (trapezius), who played catch Sunday.

Camp battles

Three outfielders vying for a backup spot on the Opening Day roster drew a start Sunday: got the nod in center, sandwiched between left fielder and right fielder Jake Smolinski.

Canha was one of five A's players to homer on the day, launching his first of the spring for a two-run shot in the fourth inning. Smolinski finished 1-for-3 to improve to 3-for-11 this spring, while Powell went hitless in two at-bats. His average sits at .200.

Elsewhere on the field, starter Frankie Montas struck out three batters in 2 1/3 innings, but he also walked three and yielded a homer to -- two issues that plagued the right-hander in a relief role with the A's last year. The club has plans to make him a starter again.

"I thought his breaking stuff was better today, his changeup and slider," Melvin said. "At the end of the day, he walked three and gave up a homer. That's kind of been his Achilles heel is home runs. You gotta keep the ball in the ballpark, and he has the ability to do it."

"I was just trying to do a good job of commanding all my pitches," Montas said through interpreter Juan Dorado. "I was a little bit off, but I kept battling through pitch after pitch."

New A's reliever fanned three over 1 2/3 perfect innings.

Up Next

Rotation candidates and will be back at it Monday, with the A's set to host the White Sox for a 12:05 p.m. PT matchup at Hohokam Stadium, live on an exclusive audio webcast on Relievers , and are also expected to see action.