Graveman intent on using changeup more

A's pitcher got Trout, Pujols out on pitch on Tuesday

Graveman intent on using changeup more

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Kendall Graveman tried out his changeup on a pair of right-handed power hitters on Tuesday afternoon, a scene that rarely occurred during the 2015 season.

Perfecting that pitch against righties has been on his to-do list, and the right-handed Graveman managed to get weak contact with it early and often against the Angels, inducing shallow fly balls from Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in a 6-5 loss.

Graveman threw the pitch less than 4 percent of the time when facing right-handed batters last year.

"I think it's come a long way," Graveman said. "[Catcher Stephen] Vogt really emphasized that today, and I think we did what we wanted to do and got some weak contact, especially early.

"It's one of those things, you just use it now to get more comfortable with it, and I think today helped with that mentality of, 'Hey, you can throw it and you can be successful with it.'"

"The changeup to righties is a huge weapon for him," Vogt said. "I'm glad to see him use it and use it effectively."

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Graveman gave the A's 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits -- including a two-run homer to Andrelton Simmons -- with two walks and one strikeout.

"He kept the ball down better," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I thought his stuff was better today, down in the zone and moving a bit more, and he had a bit of a gap with his changeup and his fastball."

Vogt particularly liked Graveman's four-seam fastball and was pleased to see improvement from his breaking ball, which drew a handful of swing and misses.

"The other thing he did too was kind of go back and forth a little better today," he said. "I think, with the way his stuff moves, sometimes we can get really one-sided with the plate, and I thought he did a good job of going in, going away."

Vogt's throwing coming along: Nearly two months removed from elbow surgery, Vogt's bat appears to be in midseason form; his arm, meanwhile, is still being nursed back to full health.

That was to be expected at this point, though. Regaining complete throwing strength is the last step in this process, and Vogt, who has essentially been ahead of his rehab schedule since undergoing the procedure, says "it's getting there."

"I'm very frustrated, because I just feel like it's not where I want it to be, and everybody says it's fine," he said. "That being said, it is better, but I'd like to see it further along, though maybe that's me being picky and wanting to be ahead of where I am.

"Today it was better. Each day I catch it's getting better and better, I just want results now. I want to be back to 100 percent now, and it's just not there yet."

Vogt, who is hitting .333 in 24 spring at-bats, has already caught in back-to-back games and, in regards to his throwing, feels "things could click any day now. I'm very close."

Worth Noting: Outfielder Sam Fuld, diagnosed with a moderate shoulder sprain Sunday, was sent to Los Angeles for a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who is performing Jarrod Parker's upcoming elbow surgery. … Right-hander Henderson Alvarez (shoulder surgery) threw another bullpen session on Tuesday with fastballs and changeups. He's expected to throw to hitters for the first time when the A's return home next weekend.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB and listen to her podcast. Eric Gilmore is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.