A's make short trek to Phoenix Muni
Geren and Co. clear first spring hurdle, change facilities
PHOENIX -- It was written on the white grease board that hangs directly across the hallway from the buffet table at Papago Park.Movin' Day -- Last Hurrah at Shangri-La.
That might have been overstating things a bit, but Monday did represent what A's manager Bob Geren called "one of the milestone days of Spring Training."Moving trucks and packed bags were the prevalent sight of the Papago scene, as the big league camp prepped to take leave of its sprawling training facility for the more intimate confines of Phoenix Municipal Stadium, about a mile down the road. For pitchers and catchers, who have been here since Feb. 14, it's a welcome change of scenery. "I don't want to say I hate it here, because it's convenient, with all the fields and the mounds, and the work we do here is necessary to get ready for the season," said starting catcher Kurt Suzuki. "But I'm definitely happy to be getting out of here." "This is the first little steppingstone," Geren said. "It's like, 'We got through the hard part, the long part.'" Geren said other "milestone days" come with the first night game of the spring; as final cuts are being made in late March; and with the opener of the annual Bay Bridge Series against the Giants, right before Opening Day. They all bring a subtle change in the general level of energy surrounding the team, which will celebrate its arrival at Phoenix Muni with a short intrasquad game on Tuesday morning. The A's open their Cactus League season on Wednesday against the host Brewers. "There's a ready-to-play-some-games feeling," Geren said. "A little more excitement." Scheduled to pitch in the 3 1/2-inning intrasquad game are Edgar Gonzalez, Brad Ziegler, Andrew Carignan, Kevin Cameron and Drew Baley, with Gonzalez working three innings for one team. Geren wasn't sure about the respective lineups that will take the field, but he did note that one team would have Travis Buck leading off, Ryan Sweeney batting second, Matt Holliday in the No. 3 spot and Jason Giambi batting cleanup. A preview of Opening Day, perhaps? Geren issued an emphatic no. "You can't read anything into that at all," he said. "Zero." Geren also cautioned against reading anything into the fact that staff ace Justin Duchscherer hasn't thrown in a few days. Duchscherer has been getting treatment on his right elbow, but he told Geren he's fine, and Geren said Duchscherer hasn't missed any scheduled bullpen sessions. On the mend Monday was outfielder/designated hitter Jack Cust, who was slowed over the weekend by flu-like symptoms. Infield prospect Jemile Weeks has had a touch of it, too, and given the close quarters of the clubhouse at Phoenix Muni, the bug could spread quickly. "It's pretty nasty," Cust said. "I was basically on my back for two full days." Phoenix Muni is open to the public for A's workouts, and Geren said the intrasquad game will start at about 11 a.m. MT, preceded by batting practice and a couple of innings of a "coach-pitched" game to get everyone's blood flowing. "It'll be nice to get down there," Geren said. "Everyone's a little more tight-knit, closer together, all in the same room, sitting down and eating together every day. It's a totally different feeling."
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.