'Jesses' encouraged by progress in rotation bids

Chavez, Hahn get hit vs. Rangers, but say pitches rounding into form

'Jesses' encouraged by progress in rotation bids

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- On Monday, in a matchup with the Rangers at Surprise Stadium, it was Jesse Chavez's turn to relieve Jesse Hahn, who did the same for his A's teammate five days prior. Both, though, were competing to start.

The two rotation candidates walked away extremely pleased with their respective outings -- even more so than the first time. Hahn made it through three innings, allowing one run on a Rougned Odor home run. Chavez pitched two innings, plus faced one batter in the sixth, and allowed two runs on four hits.

"A lot of good action today for me," said Chavez. "A lot better than the other day. Hitting my spots. The life was way better than the other day."

Chavez believes his fastball, changeup and cutter are already where they should be -- perhaps even ahead of schedule, following an offseason focused on increased arm speed and strength. The curveball is not, but he's confident that will change in his next bullpen session ahead of his scheduled Saturday start.

For Hahn, he's hoping a third outing results in a fine-tuned changeup, the last of his pitches to come into form this spring. He threw the pitch back-to-back to Odor, something he and batterymate Stephen Vogt would typically not do in a regular-season game.

"But it's a pitch I need to work on right now," said Hahn. "I'm going to keep pounding the zone with changeups until I master that pitch."

It was no surprise to see Hahn's curveball fool opponents, but it was his fastball that really impressed.

"Just talking to some of the guys on the other team, they're saying, 'Holy cow, that moved a lot,'" said Vogt. "The action on his two-seam fastball is hard. It's heavy.

"He's got really good pitches, and he used them all today really well. Really a great outing for him. It's gotta give him a lot of confidence moving forward."

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.