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Lucroy earns praise from Manaea in A's debut

Veteran catcher helps righty through 4 2/3 IP against Mariners
MLB.com @JaneMLB

MESA, Ariz. -- New A's catcher Jonathan Lucroy, on the go nonstop in an attempt to play catchup following his Monday arrival in camp, made his way into game action Saturday for his Cactus League debut.

Lucroy, signed by the A's to a one-year, $6.5 million deal, clocked six innings behind the plate and was hitless in two at-bats in his first A's game, which Oakland dropped to the Mariners, 4-1.

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MESA, Ariz. -- New A's catcher Jonathan Lucroy, on the go nonstop in an attempt to play catchup following his Monday arrival in camp, made his way into game action Saturday for his Cactus League debut.

Lucroy, signed by the A's to a one-year, $6.5 million deal, clocked six innings behind the plate and was hitless in two at-bats in his first A's game, which Oakland dropped to the Mariners, 4-1.

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"The physical part is the easy part," he said afterward. "The hard part is the signs, getting familiar with pitchers and making sure I'm comfortable with those guys."

Lucroy helped starter Sean Manaea through 4 2/3 innings against the split-squad Mariners, with only one run allowed under their watch despite the lefty pitching without his best stuff.

Video: Melvin, Forst hope Lucroy is poised for big season

The game's acting manager, A's quality control coach Mark Kotsay, took note, while A's manager Bob Melvin hopped over to the club's other game against the Giants in Scottsdale.

"Jonathan got him in the zone and made some adjustments with him in-game, I think," said Kotsay, who played with Lucroy for the Brewers in 2011. "He's going to have an impact on this staff. He's just gotta get used to it and familiar with these guys, and that's a process."

"He's very well prepared," Manaea said, "and he definitely takes charge and controls the entire diamond. Having a guy like that, especially with the time and knowledge that he has, is huge. It's exciting that he's here and taking control of the pitching staff. It was a lot of fun today."

Lucroy has spent the week getting at-bats on the Minor League side when not catching bullpen sessions for the big league group, acclimating at an accelerated pace with less than two weeks before Opening Day.

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"I've been traded twice in the middle of the season. I have way more time than I had then," Lucroy said, smiling. "This is a lot easier."

It would be even easier without adhering to baseball's new pace-of-play rules, which allow for only six mound visits per team every game.

"That makes things difficult," he said. "You can't communicate the way you want to, the way we've always communicated in the past, and that's going out and talking to someone. You can, but it counts against you, so there's a little bit of strategy to it, and I guess I'll have to figure that one out."

Up next
Lefty Jesus Luzardo, the A's No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, gets a start against the White Sox on Sunday, with first pitch at Hohokam Stadium scheduled for 1:05 p.m. PT.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

Oakland Athletics, Jonathan Lucroy