A's Straily Finds A New Offseason Routine
OAKLAND—When Dan Straily
and A.J. Griffin
get together, one topic is taboo: shoes.
And they are both glad for that. Last winter, both were selling shoes
for offseason jobs. This winter, they were both preparing to contend for
positions in the Athletics' big league rotation—where they finished
2012—as they head to major league spring training for the first time.
"This winter, our jobs are baseball instead of having to spend 30 to 40
hours a week doing something else," said Straily, who worked at sporting
goods store in Eugene, Ore., last winter. "(We were able) to focus on
working out and getting ready for the long season instead of being
distracted with everything else going on."
Straily, 24, led the minor leagues with 190 strikeouts last year, as he
moved from Double-A to Triple-A, then got a shot at the majors. The big
difference came when he developed a lethal changeup last spring.
"I feel a lot more confident this year because I didn't go into spring
training last year with the changeup that I have," Straily said. "It
took me the first five or six starts at Double-A before the change came.
It didn't come until May of last year, and it showed me how fast one
pitch can take off, and it can take over a season for me."
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound righthander combined to go 9-7, 2.78 in 25 minor
league starts, then went 2-1, 3.89 for Oakland. The change was the big
difference, and he began throwing it again during workouts in Eugene in
late January, at the indoor facility at the University of Oregon.
"The first one I threw went between the catcher's legs," he said with a laugh. "I think that's a pretty good sign."
He did not make the Oakland postseason roster, instead going to
instructional league to work out and prepare, in case he was needed for
the second round.
Straily has remained diligent and focused during the offseason. At
Griffin's suggestion, he took up yoga. "I don't know if it's working,
but my muscles aren't tight all the time," he said.
• Shortstop Addison Russell
, 19, was invited to attend big league spring
training, which is something of a big deal since it was not stipulated
in the contract signed by the A's first-round pick last year.
• Oakland manager Bob Melvin wouldn't commit to deciding the second base
situation at the A's FanFare event. Scott Sizemore
appears the top
candidate, but the field will be open to Jemile Weeks
, Adam Rosales