ANAHEIM -- When Jarrod Parker takes the mound for the A's on Tuesday night in the home opener for the Los Angeles Angels, you won't see him carrying one of his most prized possessions, a well-worn 5-by-9 loose-leaf notebook.

Most afternoons before games, Parker can be seen sitting in front of his locker, writing entry after entry into the book. It isn't a rush job. He spends time making sure each entry says just what he wants it to say.

One entry might talk about that day's bullpen session. Another might be about that day's workouts. How much did he run between starts last time? It's in the book. Still another might be about his successes and failures in a game. Good or bad, it all goes into the book.

Oakland Athletics pitcher Jarrod Parker (11) delivers in the first inning of their baseball game against the Seattle Mariners in Oakland on April 2, 2013.
Oakland Athletics pitcher Jarrod Parker (11) delivers in the first inning of their baseball game against the Seattle Mariners in Oakland on April 2, 2013.

And when the update is finished, Parker stuffs the notebook into his backpack until he needs it for consultation or another update.

Most pitchers keep some kind of log about their games, but not everyone goes to the extreme that Parker does. He says it all goes back to his surgery to replace ligaments in his right elbow after he missed the second half of his second season in pro ball in 2009.

"I started doing this right after the surgery," Parker said. "It was a way, the best way, for me to get right back into the game. I started keeping track of my rehab program. It was then that I learned that there's a lot more that happens when you're a pitcher than just getting on the mound."


Advertisement

Parker said he had always known that. But by keeping notes and charts, he was better able to understand the intricacies of his profession.

"More than that, as I did it, keeping track of everything, I tried to figure out what I liked and what I need to be successful," he said. "Before, I wasn't that knowledgeable about the exercises I was doing and everything."

Manager Bob Melvin said the notebook is evidence of Parker's devotion to pitching and of his desire to learn.

"You learn from doing something like that, especially when you're young," Melvin said. "There's no better way to learn your strengths and weaknesses. Things are always going to go wrong from time to time, and when you can reference the past, it can make for a quicker fix."

What will Parker take from his book to the mound on Tuesday? There is the knowledge that in his one start in Anaheim last September, he pitched seven innings of one-run ball.

He will note, too, that by keeping the ball down and away from the middle of the plate, he has not allowed a home run in four starts against the Angels, one reason for his 2.60 career ERA against them.

"I like pitching in that park," Parker said. "Pitching in Anaheim is fun. There's usually a good crowd, and they've got a great team. You have to elevate your mindset to pitch there and have success."

Parker had a rough spring, putting together a 7.45 ERA. In his first regular-season start last week against the Seattle Mariners, he gave up four runs in five innings. He is looking for better this time around, and he is going to be mining his notebook for ideas.

Since Parker's last outing in Anaheim, the Angels have added former Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton and have one of the most dangerous lineups in the game with Hamilton being surrounded by Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and others.

Still, Parker gives nothing away.

"With the pitching we have here," he said, "they've got to look over here with some respect. We're doing the same. We respect them."

Tuesday's game

A's (Jarrod Parker 0-1) at L.A. Angels (C.J. Wilson 0-0), 7:05 p.m. CSNCA