TEMPE, Ariz. — Tuesday’s result notwithstanding, Bob Melvin really likes what he’s seen in spring training — and not just the A’s winning record.
“It takes all of us to succeed and they’ve been very supportive of each other,” Melvin said Tuesday before the A’s played the Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. “It’s been one of the better camps that I’ve been a part of.”
Despite camp being a week longer than usual because of the World Baseball Classic, Melvin said, “I’ve really been happy with the way spring’s gone. The effort level, the team coming together, the dynamic in the clubhouse, pulling for each other. The guys understand the way we do things here.”
Tuesday didn’t go nearly as well on the scoreboard for the A’s, who lost 14-3 to the Angels. But they did get a glimpse of the future in 2016 second-round pick Logan Shore, who turned in strong work in his first spring training start, holding a lineup of mostly Angels regulars to one run and two hits in four innings.
Now 16-14 in the Cactus League, the A’s have one game left in Arizona on Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs before returning home for the Bay Bridge Series that begins Thursday night at AT&T Park.
Outfielder Jaff Decker, still competing for a roster spot, played in his second straight game after returning from an oblique injury. He led off with a double off the wall in right-center against Bud Norris, who was one of eight Angels pitchers to no-hit the Seattle Mariners last Friday.
His second time up, he saw nine pitches from Kam Bedrosian and eventually drew a walk. He lined to second against Mike Morin in the fifth.
GRAY UPDATE: Sonny Gray is anxious to return from his back injury that will sideline him through April. He’s still not close, Melvin said.
“He feels great, we’re not there yet but he is at max effort, he’s asking for more,” Melvin said. “For obvious reasons we’re going to be conservative.”
Khris Davis and Trevor Plouffe, both out for a few days with quad strains, are expected to be ready for the Bay Bridge Series. “We’ll just bubble-wrap them right now and send them up there,” Melvin said.
Davis said Tuesday, “I’ll be on time,” and Plouffe also said he’d be ready for the Bay Bridge games.
SHORE AND THE NEXT WAVE: Logan Shore got the start for the A’s against the Angels. Shore, 22, a second-round pick last June out of Florida, pitched in short-season Class A ball at Vermont Lakes last season and has been working with the Stockton group thus far, though no decision has been announced on where he’ll play this summer.
Shore, along with Gators teammate A.J. Puk, the sixth overall pick, and Cal’s Daulton Jefferies — also a second-rounder — are coming up behind the A’s rotation which consists of players not all that much older. Gray, at 27, is the veteran.
“That’s the next wave of guys that we’ve talked about,” Melvin said of the younger pitchers. The two Florida pitchers plus Jefferies also played together on Team USA.
Shore, a right-hander making his second Cactus League appearance, faced most of the Angels regulars on Tuesday. He acquitted himself well, going four innings and allowing just two hits and one run. He walked one and struck out three, including Mike Trout looking to end the first inning.
“It’s a really cool feeling,” said Shore, who found out Tuesday morning that he would be getting a start against a lineup that included Trout, Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun.
“I was fortunate to have that opportunity. I just tried to execute. (Josh) Phegley called an awesome game.”
His manager was impressed too. “He threw the ball real well,” said Melvin, who said it was the first time he’d gotten to see Shore work. “He looked good.”
Raul Alcantara, who already has been announced as the A’s No. 5 starter, pitched in a minor-league game Tuesday rather than face a division rival. Alcantara pitched two innings with one strikeout and no baserunners.
Liam Hendriks gave up five runs and six hits in the fifth inning, including Yunel Escobar’s home run. The Angels scored five more in the sixth against non-roster pitcher Grant Holmes.
UP LAST: Kendall Graveman gets one more start before opening night when he faces the Cubs on the road in Mesa. The Angels have yet to name a starter to oppose Graveman next Monday in Oakland.