© 2012 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

02/23/12 5:59 PM EST

A's gearing up for Manny's arrival

PHOENIX -- Though A's position players are not required to report to camp until Friday, almost the entire roster has been engaged in workouts for several days.

Almost everyone doesn't include Manny Ramirez, and a media circus will likely follow when he makes his scheduled arrival Friday morning.

"It probably goes without saying that comes with him," manager Bob Melvin said. "But we could use a little excitement around here. At times, we can lack for notoriety."

The A's will certainly get just that, but how long it lasts remains to be seen. The aging Ramirez is signed to a non-guaranteed Minor League deal worth just $500,000 -- a number that shrinks to roughly $340,000 following his 50-game drug suspension.

Left-hander Dallas Braden, who last year welcomed Hideki Matsui with an inflatable Godzilla dressed in A's garb, has considered borrowing Jemile Weeks on stilts to greet Ramirez.

"I might have to do that," Braden said, "because I don't think I can find a blow-up doll with dreadlocks."

Anderson progressing better than expected

PHOENIX -- The game plan for rehabbing lefty Brett Anderson has changed, but in a good way.

Anderson, who was originally slated to throw one bullpen session a week until further notice, is now set to undergo two sessions every seven-day span -- news that further emphasizes his encouraging progress.

The 24-year-old lefty, who threw off the mound Monday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery, will take to the bump again on Friday, likely for another 25 pitches.

The A's have long been anticipating an August return for Anderson, but a sooner date could become a reality should he continue without any setbacks. The club has stated it won't rush the southpaw, though, and in the meantime has plenty of pitching depth to account for his absence.

The slimmer Anderson has also been making strides in other ways, and manager Bob Melvin has taken notice.

"He moved a lot better than I remember today," Melvin said, "and that probably has to do with the shape he's in. He's worked very hard, and there are certainly a lot of different reasons to be proud of Mr. Brett Anderson."

Worth noting

• The A's are slated to take part in an intrasquad game on March 1, one day before they begin Cactus League play at home against the Mariners. Manager Bob Melvin said he is anticipating the contest starting between noon and 1 p.m. MST at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

• Among the new position player arrivals Thursday were outfielders Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick and non-roster infielder Wes Timmons.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.