Graveman holds up well in windy spring debut

Rotation candidate who came over in Donaldson trade delivers two shutout innings

Graveman holds up well in windy spring debut

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Though a forceful wind at Salt River Fields nearly knocked over Kendall Graveman at times Friday, the A's right-hander stayed the course and compiled two scoreless, mostly uneventful innings in his spring debut against the D-backs.

Graveman, one of several rotation candidates fighting for three open spots, felt rushed in his windup at times because of the wind -- and the typical adrenaline that comes along with a first start -- but appeared unruffled, allowing a pair of two-out singles in the first before retiring his final four batters in order.

That allowed Graveman the chance to work on his timing out of the stretch, something he's been improving on with bullpen coach Scott Emerson. The fact he was still able to make quality pitches while doing so was all the more encouraging. He was particularly happy with his sinker, getting four ground-ball outs. He struck out one and didn't walk a batter.

Graveman, 24, also utilized the cutter he accidentally discovered just last August and hopes to locate it more consistently as a weapon away from a right-handed hitter and in to a lefty.

"I thought it went well," said Graveman, who came to the A's in the Josh Donaldson trade. "Stuff felt good, and thought I located well today. All in all I thought it was a good first outing."

• A's catcher Josh Phegley, back in the lineup Friday after the birth of his daughter, Stella Grace, enjoyed a big day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three doubles. He also threw out a runner.

"He had a very active day," said manager Bob Melvin. "Ran the bases well, got tested with some throws. He's really receiving the ball well and doing a lot of things we're taking notice of right now. Reason we got him is showing up right now."

• A's second baseman Eric Sogard, along with former A's farmhand and current Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier, threw out the first pitch for alma mater Arizona State University's Friday opener against Long Beach State at Phoenix Municipal Stadium -- home to A's Spring Training for 33 years before the club moved to Mesa this spring.

• Relievers Ryan Cook and Eric O'Flaherty are scheduled to make their spring debuts Saturday against the Angels.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.