MESA, Ariz. -- First impressions are a thing of the past for A's lefty Sean Manaea, who is now able to hone his craft during the spring season rather than prove it.Fresh off a strong rookie season, Manaea took the mound in relief of rotation mate Kendall Graveman on Monday
MESA, Ariz. -- First impressions are a thing of the past for A's lefty Sean Manaea, who is now able to hone his craft during the spring season rather than prove it.
Fresh off a strong rookie season, Manaea took the mound in relief of rotation mate Kendall Graveman on Monday afternoon and put together two scoreless innings in the A's 5-4 victory over the Giants. Manaea used his changeup to record both strikeouts, whiffing Giants catcher Buster Posey for his final out to strand his lone baserunner of the day, Denard Span, who drew a one-out walk.
"Manaea's changeup was really, really good today," A's infielder Ryon Healy said. "Posey even said so himself."
Healy, when stepping up to face Giants right-hander Cory Gearrin in the fifth inning, said he commented to Posey: "A little early for side-arm guys, and he goes, 'Yeah, it's a little early for 3-2 changeups too, especially one as good as Manaea's.'"
"I think I threw every single one for a strike," Manaea said. "[My slider] was probably the best I've thrown in a couple years.
"Last year was different because I wasn't on the team, and this year I'm a little more confident coming in and can work on things and not really have to worry about trying to impress everyone. I'm just really happy with where I'm at right now."
Manaea, who a year ago was a highly touted prospect inching his way to the Majors, is firmly cemented in the A's rotation, after posting a 3.86 ERA across 144 2/3 innings upon his callup last season. Along the way, he fine-tuned the work-in-progress slider that looked so sharp Monday.
"You're seeing the same mix, plus the slider, which he's going to be intent on working on, and if he gets that one where he can get that back foot to a righty," A's manager Bob Melvin said, "now he's going to have three plus pitches."
Graveman, meanwhile, led the team with 186 innings and anchored an injury-ravaged staff. In his return to the mound, the right-hander issued a walk and a double with two outs, before fanning Brandon Belt to end his only inning.
"I need to get ahead of hitters and not have those two-out walks, but I'll take the positives," Graveman said. "I felt good, I thought my stuff was good. Then, to get in a situation with two outs where you need to make pitches, and we did."
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.