03/13/12 9:58 PM ET
FBI can wait as Recker vies for catching spot
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
Recker can forget the backup plan, at least for now. He's got a job as a backup catcher with the A's to win.
Following Landon Powell's release last week, Recker automatically became the favorite for the role. Even before then, he felt good about his chances to break camp with the big league team -- better than ever before.
"Absolutely," Recker said. "Coming in, I felt like I had a real good opportunity. This is easily the most exciting Spring Training for me, because I'm getting looks. I feel like I'm finally getting that opportunity, starting a lot of games, getting a lot of playing time, doing well defensively. Offensively, I'm still figuring out some things and getting comfortable, but I'm feeling great and think I have a legitimate shot, which is all you can ask for."
Recker appeared in his seventh game for the A's on Tuesday, collecting an RBI double to up his spring average to .333. He's 4-for-12 overall, with two RBIs and two walks -- numbers reflective of those he's posted in a lengthy Minor League career.
Recker, 28, has spent the past three seasons in Triple-A Sacramento, most recently hitting .287 with 16 home runs and 48 RBIs in 99 games in 2011. His team-leading 56 walks helped him to a .388 on-base percentage, and he tacked on a .501 slugging percentage -- both career highs in his six full professional seasons, leading to his first callup with the A's on Aug. 23.
"The possibility of free agency, it was obviously in the back of my mind as the season progressed last year before getting called up," he said. "I was having a really good year and kind of figured, either way, whether with the A's or another team, I was going to have a chance coming into this year."
Recker's path to the Majors now appears clear, unless the A's choose to go with Eric Sogard at third base. Should such a scenario unfold, Josh Donaldson could hang on and play the dual backup roles of infielder and catcher, which would leave Recker out of the mix.
A's claim infielder Hicks off waivers
PHOENIX -- The A's added to their depleted infield depth Tuesday, acquiring Brandon Hicks off waivers from the Braves.
To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, Oakland transferred rehabbing lefty Brett Anderson to the 60-day disabled list.
The 26-year-old Hicks, a right-handed hitter, made Atlanta's Opening Day roster last year but collected just one hit in 21 at-bats for a .048 average spanning three stints. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Gwinnett, batting .252 with 18 home runs and 50 RBIs in 104 games.
Originally a third-round Draft pick by the Braves in 2007, he's compiled a .241 average to go along with 62 home runs and 211 RBIs in 473 games over five Minor League seasons.
A's manager Bob Melvin said he was unsure if Hicks would even make his way over to big league camp, furthering the assumption that in no way does his presence have an effect on the open third-base job that Josh Donaldson is trying to win.
Hick has options left, and he simply fills an organizational need in the middle infield, where the A's currently only have Eric Sogard, Adam Rosales and non-roster invitee Wes Timmons as backup options.
After slow start to spring, Ramirez finds swing
PHOENIX -- Forgive Manny Ramirez for displaying an underwhelming reaction to his first home run in an A's uniform.
"He's obviously done it before," manager Bob Melvin said, smiling.
Count 555 in 2,302 regular-season games, to be exact. So even though Tuesday's second-inning blast off Brewers right-hander Mike Fiers was his first of the spring and happened to be his first hit, he didn't exactly go out of his way to express enthusiasm or a sense of relief.
"I know what I can do," he said after.
Does it at least tell him something about his progression at the plate, following an 0-for-8 spring start and year-long absence from baseball?
"Like I've said before, Rome wasn't built in a day," he replied. "I'm going one day at a time."
Most of Ramirez's at-bats this spring have come in Minor League camp, and he'll continue to see work there, as Melvin juggles time in the designated hitter spot with several other players in need of at-bats. Ramirez doesn't mind the back-and-forth movement, fully understanding his teammates need to get work in while preparing for a Japan trip he likely won't make himself.
"You go over there to get the most you can," he said. "I'm trying to catch up. Every time I go over there, I love it. Those guys down there are competitive, they like to play. I enjoy myself over there, enjoy playing, because once you don't have it, you don't have it."
Unlike the rest of his teammates, lefty Dallas Braden won't get the day off Wednesday. The rehabbing hurler (shoulder) is set to throw 45 pitches in a bullpen session, marking another step in his preparation to be back in the A's rotation by May.
Right-hander Jarrod Parker walked three and found himself in more than one jam during Tuesday's start against the Brewers but managed to post zeroes in each of his 3 1/3 innings of work. He also struck out four and found another positive in being able to work with batterymate Kurt Suzuki in establishing his fastball as the game went on and turning to his changeup when need be.