New arrival Nolin starts road back to mound

Lefty hopes to recover from surgery, make A's rotation

New arrival Nolin starts road back to mound

MESA, Ariz. -- Rotation hopeful Sean Nolin will be slightly behind his competition this spring, as the lefty works his way back from sports hernia surgery.

Nolin, the A's No. 8 prospect and one of four players acquired from the Blue Jays in the Josh Donaldson deal, underwent the procedure in the offseason and threw from flat ground for the first time since then on Saturday. He's expected to be throwing off the mound sometime next week.

Though Nolin's slow start doesn't help his cause in a deep battlefield, A's manager Bob Melvin made sure to relay an important message to all of his pitchers in camp.

"As a new guy coming in, you want to impress in your bullpen, but we really don't start evaluating until they get into games," Melvin said. "So my rhetoric to them has been, look, we start evaluating when we get to games. It's one thing to impress, but another to get to games, and we want everyone healthy."

In other news Saturday:

• Right-hander Taylor Thompson, claimed off waivers from the White Sox, also was restricted to a flat-ground session on Saturday. The reliever is nursing tightness in his right shoulder.

Raul Alcantara, the A's No. 7 prospect as ranked by MLB.com, is steadily progressing in his rehab from Tommy John surgery. The right-hander is expected to go through another seven weeks of bullpen progression before throwing live batting practice.

Top Prospects: Alcantara, OAK

• Another top prospect, Renato Nunez (No. 3), made a strong impression on Melvin during his time in the batting cage Saturday. The third baseman hit three balls over the left-field scoreboard at Hohokam Stadium and even more against it, according to Melvin.

Top Prospects: Nunez, OAK

"He's out here definitely wanting to be noticed," he said.

• A renovated Hohokam Stadium hosted an open house of sorts on Saturday for fans interested in checking out the A's new Spring Training home. They were also treated to batting practice, with several position players on hand three days before their official reporting date.

"Felt like we almost had a full squad out there," said Melvin. "When you have guys who haven't played together before, the more you can get them together early on, the camaraderie thing starts, the chemistry."

Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp, Billy Butler, Brett Lawrie, Sam Fuld, Ike Davis, Marcus Semien and Craig Gentry are among the early arrivals.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.