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Cautious Manaea throws in simulated game

MLB.com @JaneMLB

MESA, Ariz. -- Just a day after being scratched from his scheduled start against the Indians because of back tightness, A's starter Sean Manaea was back on a mound.

The lefty pitched in a controlled setting Wednesday morning, throwing two innings in a simulated game at the club's Minor League facilities. Barring any setbacks, Manaea is expected to make his Cactus League debut the next time he takes the bump.

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MESA, Ariz. -- Just a day after being scratched from his scheduled start against the Indians because of back tightness, A's starter Sean Manaea was back on a mound.

The lefty pitched in a controlled setting Wednesday morning, throwing two innings in a simulated game at the club's Minor League facilities. Barring any setbacks, Manaea is expected to make his Cactus League debut the next time he takes the bump.

View Full Game Coverage

"Didn't want to push anything," Manaea said. "Everything feels good right now, just excited to get out there."

Manaea is no stranger to back issues; he experienced minor bouts of back discomfort at different points during the first two seasons of his career. Spring Training allows him to be especially conservative in his approach.

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"Just want to be a little more cautious and not really push anything, especially how young Spring Training is," he said.

Another sidelined starter, Daniel Gossett, is expected to make his first spring appearance in Saturday's home tilt against the Padres, according to manager Bob Melvin. Gossett, too, was slowed by minor back tightness.

The A's also have encouraging news on their third baseman: Melvin said Matt Chapman, who has been out of action because of a sore right hand, will begin swinging the bat again Thursday.

Position battles

Rotation candidate Daniel Mengden, who only five days prior recorded just two outs in a shaky spring debut, rounded into form against the Cubs at Sloan Park on Wednesday.

Mengden worked three solid innings, allowing one hit and one walk with one strikeout in Oakland's 7-5 exhibition loss.

"Completely different from his last outing," Melvin said. "Threw the ball where he wanted to, had good command and a good presence out there as well."

Mengden has been a favorite to win one of three open rotation spots since camp opened, with Paul Blackburn, who started Wednesday's game, also in competition alongside Jharel Cotton, Andrew Triggs and Gossett. Blackburn yielded two walks and allowed a four-spot in the first inning before settling down in the second to cap his day.

"You're only as good as your last inning, so I'm going to go off that," Blackburn said. "First inning, I just couldn't find the zone. The walks hurt me."

Mengden, in contrast, filled up the zone, working ahead and inducing weak contact.

"He was in full attack mode, which is what we need him to be," catcher Bruce Maxwell said.

Up Next

Cotton and Triggs will be on display against the Rangers at Hohokam Stadium on Thursday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:05 p.m. PT. Relievers Santiago Casilla, Liam Hendriks and Ryan Buchter are also scheduled to appear in the game, which can be listened to in an exclusive webcast on athletics.com.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

Oakland Athletics, Sean Manaea