PHOENIX, Ariz. -- It's always a challenge for teams to know how much surplus starting pitching to bring to spring training. Carry too much, and you risk putting the squeeze on someone who's worthy or not having enough innings to go around. Go light on the depth, and you can leave yourself vulnerable when the injuries mount.
Oakland's projected rotation consists of Jarrod Parker, Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily, with Tommy Milone also in the mix. In addition, the A's have Phil Humber in camp, and are anxious to see what they have in Drew Pomeranz, who came over from Colorado in December in a trade for Brett Anderson.
"We will start with five guys, so someone who's been very successful in the big leagues is not going to make the team in a starting role," manager Bob Melvin said Sunday. "As a coaching staff and a front office, you love having the depth. As a pitcher you're going, 'Man, I've accomplished quite a bit here, and I still have to fight really hard for my job.' That's the mindset you want to have. It just means we have a lot of depth, and we're lucky to have it."
Pomeranz, selected by Cleveland out of the University of Mississippi as the fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft, has yet to find his niche over three professional seasons with the Indians and Rockies. In 136 2/3 major league innings, he has 115 strikeouts and a whopping 70 walks.
But Pomeranz certainly looks imposing at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds. He's left-handed, which always helps, and the A's are hoping he can thrive with a change of scenery.
"The ability is there, and that's the hard part," Melvin said. "Our job is refining it. You see the mechanics are a little bit funky, and sometimes that can make it difficult to try to repeat your delivery and your arm slot. But we think there's a lot of upside there."
Pomeranz is off to a slow start in camp after suffering an infection and a fever stemming from an ingrown hair in his upper left leg. Milone is probably the frontrunner to make the Oakland staff as a lefty swing man/long reliever if he's unable to crack the rotation. But Pomeranz has a chance to make a positive impression in Phoenix. It's up to him.