OAKLAND -- While most A’s pitchers and catchers are set to participate in the first workout of Summer Camp at the Coliseum on Saturday, another group of players remains without a training site.
Finding an alternate site for the remaining 18 players in the 60-man player pool, a group that features prospect Robert Puason and 2020 first-round Draft pick Tyler Soderstrom, continues to be a challenge for the A's. The facility of the Stockton Ports, Oakland’s Class A Advanced affiliate and preferred site to hold the camp, remains in the mix. The A’s are also looking at options throughout the nearby counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Alameda.
“That has not been easy,” A’s general manager David Forst said of securing an alternate site. “We’re working on that. We have a lot of players and staff members who are waiting by the phone, anxious to hear when they’re leaving and where they are going.”
The complications come from the COVID-19 restrictions that vary in each county. Forst did not give a target date for finalizing a site, but the club does not want to keep the players and coaches expected to train at that second location in a holding pattern for much longer.
“Anywhere we’ve looked around here, the situation with the virus is a factor,” Forst said. “How each county’s health department is handling things and what their particular orders are comes into play when we’re looking at alternate sites. Stockton is still a possibility.”
A’s discussing exhibition games with Giants
The A’s and Giants are seemingly a perfect match to play exhibition games before Opening Day, scheduled for July 23 or 24. Not only are the teams Bay Area neighbors, but Forst and Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi share a friendship that goes back to their days as assistant general managers to Billy Beane in Oakland.
Forst said talks with Zaidi on scheduling exhibition games are ongoing, and the two sides are close to an agreement.
“Our hope is to play two games against the Giants, at least. Maybe a third,” Forst said. “Farhan and I are nailing down the specifics on those. We’ll get them out as soon as we can. We’ve kind of agreed that at least two games will be played.”