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Melvin eager to test drive new replay system

A's skipper will get first of five spring opportunities Thursday vs. Rox

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PHOENIX -- With less than three weeks remaining until Opening Day, A's manager Bob Melvin has yet to become familiar with the biggest change most skippers will have to deal with this season.

That changes on Thursday.

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The televised night game on MLB Network, MLB.TV and Comcast Sports Northern California between the A's and Rockies at Phoenix Municipal Stadium will give Melvin his first test drive of the new replay system that was overhauled during the offseason.

"I'm glad to finally be able to get a replay game, to just kind of have a feeling for it," Melvin said on Wednesday. "I would like to have more. But we only have so many TV games."

Every team is guaranteed five replay games during Spring Training, though some already have played in that many with more to come.

"As many opportunities as you can get to get a feel for it, I think when you get a chance to challenge in Spring Training, you go ahead and do it," Melvin said.

Whether he has a legitimate chance to win a challenge or not, Melvin is looking forward to testing the procedures as soon as Thursday.

"It's not going to be the same dynamic tomorrow night that it will be for the season," Melvin said. "[But] I might just try to take the first opportunity I have [and challenge], to see what the dynamic is."

Major League Baseball gave all managers and coaches a presentation on the new system and Melvin has seen some additional slides, but he has not yet seen a hard copy of all the rules.

"Once I do, I will spend several days reading it and trying to get a grasp on it," Melvin said.

Spring reviews of the system have been mixed, in part because all the camera angles that will be available during the regular season aren't in use now. As for what he expects the regular season rollout to be like, Melvin said it will be just like anything else so transformative.

"People are going to try to find, like anything else, cracks in the armor and how you can gain an advantage by it," Melvin said. "So, I think we haven't scratched the surface on how that plays out yet."

Rays manager Joe Maddon already said he is working on ways to find loopholes in the system and take advantage of them. When told of this, Melvin smirked.

"We have an analytics department as well," he said.

Chris Gabel is a contributor to

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