Pomeranz sails through start vs. former teammates

Lefty K's six in six scoreless frames, works on improving changeup

Pomeranz sails through start vs. former teammates

MESA, Ariz. -- Drew Pomeranz, already viewed as the frontrunner for the fifth spot in the A's rotation, showed why Monday, mowing down his former Rockies team with ease in an 11-2 victory.

The lefty compiled a spring-high six scoreless innings, allowed only two hits and walked one with six strikeouts, bouncing back from a forgettable outing five days prior that was hindered by hip tightness.

Moreover, Pomeranz rediscovered his 2014 mechanics, after tweaking one too many things this spring in an attempt to better a changeup he's trying to utilize more often.

"I was changing things to favor that pitch, but I went back to how I was the whole year last year and actually threw some pretty good changeups," said Pomeranz. "It's funny how that works, right?"

Surviving without a changeup proves challenging for a strictly fastball-curveball starter like Pomeranz. In 69 innings at the Major League level last year, he relied on the changeup fewer than 10 times. The A's want to see more of it this season.

"You at least have to have a third pitch to create a little doubt in the hitter's head," said manager Bob Melvin, who was strongly impressed by Pomeranz's work Monday.

"Really good," Melvin said. "I don't know what the velocities were, but there were some late swings on the fastball, there were some bad swings on the curveball, and he threw just enough changeups today to get them off some of the other pitches.

"You saw very few good swings, let alone hard-hit balls. That's what he's got to realize, too. If he throws the ball over the plate, he's going to be tough to hit. His stuff is that good."

Pomeranz fans Baez

"That's exactly how I wanted to finish up here," said Pomeranz, who takes a 2.04 spring ERA into this weekend's Bay Bridge Series finale.

• A's outfielder Coco Crisp was cleared to hit in the same Minor League game that Sonny Gray will start Tuesday. Melvin hopes Crisp will then be able to play in Wednesday's Cactus League finale and the upcoming Bay Bridge Series.

"If we can do that," said Melvin, "there's a good chance he'll be ready for us Opening Day."

• Melvin said his regulars will play all nine innings of Thursday's Bay Bridge Series opener and much of Saturday's finale in Oakland.

• Lefty Sean Nolin (groin) threw a bullpen session Monday and could be throwing to hitters by the end of the week.

Top Prospects: Nolin, OAK

• First baseman Nate Freiman, sidelined nearly all spring by a lower back injury, took dry swings Sunday and was expected to throw Monday, as he eases his way into baseball activity again.

Jesse Chavez will start Wednesday's Cactus League finale against the Angels, while Jesse Hahn throws in a Minor League game to stay on schedule for the second game of the regular season.

• A's infield coach Mike Gallego, who has been suffering from a bout of sun poisoning in recent days, "has really made some significant strides," said Melvin. "It was scary there for a while. His eyes were really getting swollen. It's been prudent to keep him off the field."

Triple-A Nashville manager Steve Scarsone has been handling third-base coaching duties in Gallego's stead.

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.