Gossett impressing A's across all levels

No. 7 prospect delivers 2 hitless innings in first spring start

Gossett impressing A's across all levels

MESA, Ariz. -- A's pitching prospect Daniel Gossett, thrust into a start against the Angels on Sunday, responded with two scoreless innings in the team's home opener at Hohokam Stadium, a 5-3 loss.

"First time I've ever actually played a game on that field," Gossett said, "so it was exciting to get out there and be in front of the crowd facing some of the top-notch in the league."

Gossett, ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the organization's No. 7 prospect, has seen much competition in the last year, having jumped from Class A Advanced to Double-A to Triple-A during the regular season before landing in A's camp as a non-roster invite.

This is just as much of a reward for Gossett as an opportunity to prove he belongs among the crowded competition for Oakland's fifth-starter job.

"He impressed everybody in the organization last year, so when you're talking about that fifth spot, who knows?" A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He had a heck of a year, and he's impressed us this camp. There's always a couple of guys that come out of the pack."

Gossett didn't allow a hit but walked two batters Sunday, one of them thrown out at second base by Josh Phegley on a stolen-base attempt. "Pitcher's best friend," Gossett said, smiling.

Phegley throws out Marte

"He shows really good stuff," Phegley said. "I told him, 'You might be a little nervous, so we're going to try to focus on staying in the middle of the plate and letting our stuff work for us.' He's got good movement. Not bad for his first time out."

The 24-year-old pitcher was a second-round Draft pick of the A's out of Clemson in 2014, and he's since compiled a 3.57 ERA in 66 games (55 starts), including a 2.69 mark between three levels last season. He struck out 151 in 153 2/3 innings.

"It's fantastic," Gossett said. "I get to be with different guys at different levels and see different coaches and different opponents, and you're able to pick different minds, get different perspectives on baseball."

For Phegley, who missed much of 2016 recovering from right knee surgery, it was his first time behind the plate in a game since July 1.

"It felt a little foreign to be in a game again," he said.

Banged and bruised
Catcher Matt McBride is dealing with a lat issue and is limited to swinging a bat, precluding him from catching in games. A second non-roster catcher, Ryan Lavarnway, is leaving the club Monday to join Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic, leaving Melvin with four catchers -- prospect Sean Murphy, who will get ample backup time behind Stephen Vogt, Phegley and Bruce Maxwell.

"We're a little short, so Mr. Murphy is going to get some opportunities," Melvin said. "This will be a nice little showcase for him to back up some of these games."

Jake Smolinski, in competition for an outfield spot this spring, is also nursing an injury. Melvin said a shoulder issue is why "it will be a while before you see him on the field." Melvin hopes to get Smolinski at-bats in the designated hitter spot this week, "but not sure on that either," he said.

Worth noting
• Infielder Ryon Healy will play first base and bat third in his Cactus League debut against the Giants on Monday. Melvin said Healy was slowed entering camp by a quad issue but was cleared for game action after running the bases Sunday morning.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.