3/5/2014 7:45 P.M. ET
Melvin pleased with players' progress thus far
By Cash Kruth / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Wednesday's game against the Brewers marked one full week of Cactus League action for the A's.
Their record is 5-3-1, outfielder Josh Reddick is hitting .462 and they've discovered the burgeoning legend that is Billy Burns.
But the most important thing A's manager Bob Melvin has seen through one week is his team continually preparing for the season.
"We're getting stuff done, we're getting the at-bats that I'm comfortable with," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "At this point, I think everything's pretty good."
Wednesday was a relatively easy day for most of the A's following Tuesday's split-squad games against the Brewers and Cubs. Second baseman Eric Sogard and catcher John Jaso -- who served as the designated hitter -- were the only regulars to make the trip to Maryvale to face Milwaukee.
While the veterans rested, younger players received more playing time than normal -- this coming one day after the youngsters helped one of Oakland's squads post a late-inning comeback victory.
Although Spring Training outcomes matter as much as March batting averages, Melvin admitted a positive in these games is seeing young players compete in the late innings or on a day like Wednesday.
"It's something that we impress upon the younger guys in the second group of guys is, it's their job to come in and complete the game," Melvin said. "They're excited about it and they want to come in and make an impact whether or not it's hold a lead or come back and win...
"It's their opportunity to shine and a lot of those guys have done some really good things."
Melvin said most of the everyday players will return to the starting lineup Thursday against the D-backs.
Parker's mechanics improve in second spring start
MARYVALE, Ariz. -- Jarrod Parker's second Cactus League start went, and felt, a whole lot better than his first.
The A's right-hander allowed two hits -- one a solo home run to Ryan Braun -- in 3 1/3 innings Wednesday in Oakland's 7-2 loss to the Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park.
That line was much better than Parker's on Feb. 28, when he allowed six runs on five hits in 1 1/3 innings.
"Mechanically it was a lot smoother," Parker said.
It took awhile for Parker to get into a groove, as he issued both of his walks and faced five batters in the opening inning. He retired the next six batters in order before Braun blasted his second Cactus League homer -- both of which have come against the A's.
"In the second inning I felt like I was smooth, a lot more aggressive out in front, was able to make some pitches and kind of get some early outs," Parker said.
The homer to Braun -- who is 6-for-7 this spring -- was the second of consecutive changeups Parker threw to the Brewers outfielder.
"Yeah, I played with fire," Parker said. "I told him that. Probably the right pitch, just wrong location."
Parker was slated to top out at 45 pitches Wednesday, as he continues to get his arm in shape. He also spun off a couple sliders, with both he and A's manager Bob Melvin coming away pleased with the effort.
The 25-year-old Parker appears to have the inside track to get the ball on Opening Day, a distinction Melvin said Wednesday can't necessarily be won in Spring Training.
Although Parker said he'd like to start March 31 at O.co Coliseum, it's not something he's worried about.
"I'd love it," Parker said. "[But] it's not something I'm working toward right now. I'm getting ready for the season, no matter when it is. No matter what day I'm throwing, it doesn't matter, as long as I'm healthy and ready to go.
"You're only the Opening Day starter once a year, and that's like being the leadoff guy once a game."
Savery being brought along slowly
PHOENIX -- Joe Savery's second Cactus League appearance wasn't the greatest for someone competing for a spot in the A's bullpen.
Savery, who along with fellow left-hander Fernando Abad has the best chance to snag the last bullpen opening, made his second appearance for the A's on Wednesday in Oakland's 7-2 loss to the Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park, walking two and uncorking a wild pitch.
Although the first batter Savery faced reached on one of two errors in the inning, he later scored on the left-hander's wild pitch.
Savery has been brought along slowly this spring, making only one appearance (1 1/3 innings on Sunday) before Wednesday, because of his late arrival to the A's.
The reason for that, manager Bob Melvin said, was that the A's wanted Savery to get acclimated after being claimed off waivers from the Phillies on Feb. 17 -- three days after pitchers and catchers reported.
Melvin said Savery, who posted a 3.15 ERA in 18 appearances for Philadelphia last season, will throw again Friday and seemed confident Savery will impress the more appearances he gets.
Abad, meanwhile, has been making the most of his chances. He's thrown three scoreless appearances, allowing one hit and striking out four.
"With Savery coming a little bit later, we weren't comfortable getting him into games as early was we did Abad," Melvin said. "But Abad's been terrific. Every one of his outings seem to be the same: limited pitches, a lot of strikes, plus velocity, good breaking ball."
The rest of the bullpen appears set with closer Jim Johnson, setup men Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook, Luke Gregerson and Dan Otero, and long reliever Jesse Chavez.
• After snapping an 0-for-10 drought with a 3-for-3 performance on Tuesday, A's outfielder Michael Taylor continued his hot hitting Wednesday. He homered in his first at-bat, flied out to the right-field warning track in his second and doubled in his third.
"Taylor really looks relaxed the last couple of games," Melvin said. "It's good to see, because he's got some ability. The numbers he puts up at Triple-A, there's a reason for it. He's a good player."
• Left-hander Tommy Milone struggled Tuesday in Mesa, allowing three runs on five hits in three innings in one of Oakland's split-squad games. Melvin didn't see Milone -- the skipper was instead at Phoenix Municipal Stadium -- but said the reports he got back on Milone were "OK."
"I don't think his two starts have been what we're used to seeing out of him, but, again, he's working on some things," Melvin said, noting Milone's focus is on honing his two-seamer and pitching inside.
• Maryvale Baseball Park was home for Melvin in 1999 during his Arizona Fall League managerial stint. He said his time in the AFL was important in developing as a manager, specifically learning how to deal with general managers and other front office executives from around the league. Among the future Major Leaguers on Melvin's squad -- that he could remember -- were Aubrey Huff, Mark DeRosa, Toby Hall and Keith Ginter.