OAKLAND -- Chad Pinder has worked hard over the past few years to develop into a super-utility player who can play every infield and outfield spot. But one position still remains a work in progress.
With no incumbent second baseman, Pinder is one of a handful of players who will get some playing time at the keystone position. Before Sunday’s workout at the Oakland Coliseum, A’s manager Bob Melvin indicated that Pinder will likely get more time at second base than he’s used to, which is why the A’s have been getting him plenty of reps there during Summer Camp.
Pinder appeared in 124 games for the A’s last season, playing every position except pitcher and catcher. While 21 of those games came at second base, Pinder admitted that he never fully got comfortable there, struggling mainly with double-play situations. Having focused on that aspect of his game during Spring Training, Pinder continues to work on it in camp.
“The double-play stuff. That’s the stuff that I’m working on right now,” Pinder said. “For me, having a decent arm, I’ve always felt like I can take a little bit of my time, especially on hard-hit balls to third base and shortstop and still manage to turn a double play.
“Where I get in trouble is when it’s a bang-bang play. It seems like I’m typically on the wrong side. That’s something I’m focusing on -- being able to turn that double play quick, getting the transfer going and still relying on my arm, but I want to be on the right side of that bang-bang play.”
At the plate, Pinder has been one of the better performers at Summer Camp, blasting a home run during Saturday’s sim game at the Coliseum. It’s been a good start, but Pinder won’t put too much stock into the early at-bats.
“I think we’re all still kind of in the beginning stages,” Pinder said. “Typically, when we enter Spring Training, we have live BP and kind of ease in, but now we jumped right into it. It’s an ongoing process. With about two weeks left, I think you’ll start to see some transition into the season, whereas now guys are working on getting their timing back.
“For me, it’s always going to come down to pitch selection and putting together good at-bats. My swing is simple enough to play, and as long as I’m staying disciplined and continue to grow in that department, I think that’s where my focus should be on my offensive side of the game.”
Early on in the regular season, which begins July 24, Pinder’s focus will switch over to something a bit more personal. His wife, Taylor, is pregnant with the couple’s first child. With the due date set for Sept. 3, Pinder will have to figure out how to arrange a way to be there for the birth, though he won’t worry too much about that until it gets closer.
“I plan on letting everything settle and giving it a month or so before we revisit and see where she’s at, where the season is at and my options,” Pinder said. “If things are getting more restricted as far as hospital stuff, you never know where we can be in a month. Just let it play out. The stress for me is secondary. She’s still pregnant with a month and a half left. I don’t want any of this to be too hard on her and stress her out, especially in this last trimester. We’ll revisit as it gets closer and try to make it as smooth as possible.”
Pump up the crowd noise
While A’s workouts have featured music over the Coliseum speakers, Melvin said the club will likely try to find a way to pipe in crowd noise at some point. This has been discussed by other clubs around the league and would lessen the chance of dugouts overhearing each other during the season.
“I think they’re looking at a few different scenarios. I know, at some point in time, I’ll probably hear that before we get going,” Melvin said of piping in the noise. “I know other places are doing it, too, and I think it’ll be consistent around the league. Every ballpark will have something through the sound system, whether it’s just a constant crowd noise buzz, timing a hit or something like that at home. Everybody will be doing that.”