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A's embrace yoga as a part of daily workout

PHOENIX -- Once Bob Melvin wraps up his media session each morning, the A's manager joins his players on the field for their daily yoga session.

It's a new trend in A's camp this year, one that provides significant benefits in terms of breathing, flexibility and injury prevention.

"It's baseball-specific and not just like going to a normal class," said Mike Henriques, the A's strength and conditioning coach. "The woman who leads everyone deals with a lot of golfers, so it's a lot of the same patterns and motions that we see in baseball."

Her name is Katherine Roberts, and she's been contracted with Nike Golf for many years. She also founded Yoga for Golfers to help athletes maximize their mind-body performance and has served as the yoga expert for the Dodgers and Padres in recent years, as well.

"It's a different option, instead of them listening to me all day," Henriques joked. "It's nice to get someone else out there to take them through some range of motion stuff and switch things up instead of doing the same things over and over again."

Henriques assumed the pitchers would be on board with yoga, which has become more mainstream in baseball. But the position players?

"I wasn't so sure," he said. "The guys I thought wouldn't take to it right away or appreciate it have actually been the guys that have come up to me and said they really like it."

"It's just more of a deeper stretch," A's pitcher Dan Straily said. "It's nice to kind of break up the routine, because when you're doing the same stretches every day, it becomes old really quick and you find yourself not really paying attention to it. Yoga can't hurt, that's for sure. Just another way to get loose for the day."

Straily is no stranger to the discipline, having gone to plenty of yoga classes at a studio just below his apartment in Eugene, Ore., early in the offseason.

Once the regular season begins, Straily and his teammates won't be gathered for daily yoga sessions like the ones they're experiencing now, since Roberts will remain in Arizona. However, she has provided the team with a DVD that includes three different yoga routines that accommodate pregame, workout and relaxing needs.

"They'll be on everyone's iPads," Henriques said.