3/8/2014 7:20 P.M. ET
Fuld getting a long look as potential fifth outfielder
By Jane Lee and Cash Kruth / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- While playing the waiting game with injured outfielder Craig Gentry, the A's are getting a long look at non-roster invitee and potential fifth outfielder Sam Fuld.
Whether the A's carry five outfielders is unclear at this point -- "Anything is possible," said manager Bob Melvin -- but Fuld could very well be the club's fourth outfielder on Opening Day should Gentry not be ready by then.
Gentry suffered a lower back strain nearly three weeks ago, and there's no timetable for him to get in a game. Fuld, in the meantime, has been stellar on defense and impressive at the plate, too, going 7-for-22 (.318) with a home run in nine games.
Like Gentry, he can play all outfield positions and is accustomed to a part-time role. He's a .234 career hitter in parts of six seasons with the Cubs and Rays.
"I knew he was a good player. I didn't realize he was this good," said Melvin. "Gentry's been out, and Sam's been a guy that can play any of the outfield positions plus-plus. There were two balls yesterday I didn't think he was going to get to, and he got to easily.
"Usually there's a falloff at different positions. There's one you're most comfortable in, and then a little falloff. There's no falloff with him."
Fuld came to the A's on a Minor League deal worth $800,000 if he makes Oakland's roster. It includes $100,000 in incentives for games played and, more importantly, a pair of opt-out dates if he's not on the big league roster. The first is at the end of this month. The second is on June 1.
"At the beginning of the season, there are guys you want to keep and not let get away," said Melvin. "If we're able to do that, I don't know, but we're mindful of it, and there's a reason they're here. You don't just bring guys in that are out of options or have outs just to have them there for Spring Training."
Melvin still hasn't decided on A's Opening Day starter
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The A's are nearly three weeks away from their Opening Day matchup against the Indians at the Coliseum, but there's still no word on whom they'll select to start that game.
No matter the decision, it will be the A's ninth consecutive different Opening Day starter, the longest such streak in the Majors. Right-hander Jarrod Parker appears to be on schedule for the March 31 start, and he also has the credentials that would warrant such an honor, having gone 25-16 with a 3.73 ERA in 61 starts for the A's the past two years.
But manager Bob Melvin maintains the organization is still deciding between three guys -- presumably Parker, Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir.
"We're still not there yet," said Melvin. "We'll just see how guys are doing health-wise, amongst probably three guys."
Melvin said health will be the biggest factor when choosing, "and how guys are performing to an extent," he said.
"And, really, Spring Training performance isn't the biggest factor in the world, yet at certain times it's the only thing you have to go on," Melvin continued. "So for the guys that you know are making your team, you don't really look at Spring Training performance, yet when you have competition for spots or there's something that needs to play out, as far as how you set out your rotation, maybe that does factor. Then you also look at the competition, who you're facing, maybe some track records there.
"We'll get together as a staff and front office to figure it out, but we're not there yet."
Anderson enjoys moment, outing against former team
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-hander Brett Anderson tried not to think about facing his old teammates leading up to Saturday's game against the A's.
Then A's center fielder and leadoff hitter Coco Crisp stepped to the plate, made eye contact with Anderson on the mound and tipped his cap.
Anderson returned the gesture.
"It was different," admitted Anderson, who spent his entire career with the A's before being traded to Colorado in December. "It was fun to get out there and work and see some familiar faces."
Anderson said the only contact he had with his former teammates before Saturday were text messages with right-handers Jarrod Parker and Sonny Gray to see if he would match up with either of them. He had plenty of interaction with the A's on Saturday, however, as he took advantage of facing his old friends.
He was able to pick the brains of guys like Daric Barton and Crisp, asking them if they expected a particular pitch in certain situations. That can only happen in a Spring Training game, and only to a player such as Anderson -- who was drafted by Oakland in 2006 and has a deep bond with his former teammates.
"It was kind of cool in that way because I could ask them questions I don't normally get to ask other guys, especially since we don't face them in the regular season," Anderson said. "It was good to get that immediate feedback."
It also was a good outing.
The 26-year-old allowed one run on three hits and struck out one in his second Cactus League start. He was also pleased with his changeup and the soft contact he was able to induce, which are aspects Rockies manager Walt Weiss has come to like about the lefty.
"It's been real encouraging to see him go out there and throw it the way he has," Weiss said. "He's healthy and that's the biggest thing. We feel like if he's healthy he's going to have a big impact on the club and I think that's what we're seeing."
The health of Anderson's foot was on display in the third inning, when he was nearly involved in a 3-6-1 double play off the bat of A's infielder Nick Punto. Anderson, who missed most of last season with a stress fracture in his right foot, missed the bag but was just happy to almost be there.
"I asked the umpire if I would have been on the bag, would he have been out, and he [said] it was really close," said Anderson, adding, "I think I was more excited that I was going to beat Punto over there."
Barton exits with left hamstring strain
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A's first baseman Daric Barton exited Saturday's game after just one inning because of a left hamstring strain.
Barton suffered it in his first at-bat and is likely to be held out of baseball activities come Sunday.
"You would think," manager Bob Melvin said. "Hamstrings aren't something you want to mess around with. To what degree he strained it, I'm not sure."
Barton was considered likely to make the Opening Day roster as the second first baseman, but that could easily change should he miss an extended period of time. Most hamstring issues typically require at least a couple of weeks of rest.
• Minor League catcher Dusty Brown, who already missed last year recovering from Tommy John surgery, underwent right shoulder surgery on Friday and will not play the rest of Spring Training.
"There's really no timetable right now, and it had been something bothering him since he got here," said Melvin. "He wasn't in a game because of it. A lot of his drills were cut short, and it just got to a point where he had to have this done. He had Tommy John and now this on top of it. It's been a tough year or so for him."
• Melvin was ejected by home plate umpire Adam Hamari in the seventh inning of Saturday's Cactus League contest with the Rockies for arguing a strike call with Shane Peterson at the plate.
"The first pitch to Peterson I thought was outside and I just said, 'Get em on the plate,'" said Melvin. "And then he called him out, I said, 'You made your point,' and I got thrown out."
Asked if it was his first career Spring Training ejection, the A's manager grinned and said, "Unfortunately not. But it was several years back for much more than that."
• Right-hander Ryan Cook threw his second bullpen of the spring on Saturday morning, tossing 23 pitches without any issues. Cook, who is behind schedule because of shoulder inflammation, is expected to throw a couple of more bullpens before facing hitters and getting into a game.
• Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle pitched another perfect inning on Saturday, his fourth of the spring. He has five strikeouts in that span.
• Non-roster infielder Darwin Perez is finally in camp with the A's, after being held up in Venezuela with visa issues for several weeks. Melvin said the plan is to get him in games "as soon as possible."