Luzardo out to help Stoneman Douglas

February 17th, 2018

MESA, Ariz. -- A's pitching prospect Jesus Luzardo, who has called Parkland, Fla., home for the last 18 years, is coping with the unspeakable tragedy that unfolded at his high school this week. He's also taking action to raise funds for families of the victims.

Among the 17 killed in Thursday's horrific school shooting was Stoneman Douglas athletic director Chris Hixon, who "played a huge role in supporting my dreams of becoming a professional baseball player," Luzardo stated on his fundraising page. "His loss will be felt by everyone in the Douglas community."

In a separate video post on Twitter, Luzardo spoke of his desire to help Hixon's wife, Debbie, and sons Cory and Tommy, and to create a scholarship fund in his name.

The 20-year-old Luzardo, who moved from Peru to South Florida at the age of 2, graduated from Douglas High in 2016. The left-hander came to the A's in the trade that sent and to Washington last year and is currently ranked as the club's No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline.

His heartfelt message on his YouCaring page also included these words:

"I'm writing this with a heavy heart as Parkland is somewhere I have been lucky enough to call home for the past 18 years of my life. It is a special place where I have made friendships that will last a lifetime and I have made memories that will forever be embedded in my mind. I made relationships with people that I now consider family.

"It is so difficult to comprehend that some of these people now will not get to live on with their own families. I would not be where I am today if it were not for many of the students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, these people molded me into who I am today.

"It is a tremendous community and a great school. Tragedies like this are always saddening but it hits you really hard when it happens to people that YOU grew up with, and that helped YOU develop into who you are. I want to do whatever I can to help these people and will be leading the charge to support this community through my charitable efforts."

Alcantara to see work as a reliever

Right-hander , who made four starts with the A's in 2017 and four more appearances out of the bullpen, is expected to be evaluated as a reliever this spring, according to A's manager Bob Melvin.

Alcantara, 25, broke camp with the A's last year, partly because he was out of Minor League options. The experiment lasted less than three weeks -- he made one start and two relief appearances -- before he was designated for assignment, allowing him the opportunity to get the Triple-A experience he had been lacking.

Alcantara subsequently showed his ability to succeed in the bullpen while with Nashville, posting a 2.67 ERA with 22 strikeouts and seven walks in 33 2/3 innings across 18 appearances (three starts).

He returned to the A's in September and, again, is back in spring camp with no options remaining, which could work in his favor. At the same time, it's a crowded competition for a bullpen job, with several other names ahead of his on the depth chart.