PHOENIX -- The A's carried as many as five left-handers in the bullpen last year, and they used them to great advantage.
Looking at 2013, the question is whether the A's can afford to even keep three. Even if they can wedge a trio of lefty relievers onto the final 25-man roster, there will be some shocks when the ultimate decisions on which ones to keep come down.
The A's have one of the best crops of left-handed relievers in recent memory, pitchers who would be locks to make the big-league club in another organization.
Hideki Okajima is the latest of those. He signed a minor-league contract with an invitation to the big-league camp in the first days of spring training.
"I never looked at the roster when I was coming here," Okajima said. "I was just happy for the chance to pitch again in America. In Boston there was never left-handed depth like this. I know it's going to be tough (making the team), but it's the same for us all."
It seems likely that Sean Doolittle and Jerry Blevins, the only lefty who was with the club all last season, are the only locks for the A's left-handed relief corps.
Other lefties in the mix include Travis Blackley, Jordan Norberto, Pedro Figueroa and Garrett Olson.
"Doolittle has that power arm you look for," pitching coach Curt Young said. "Blevins is more of a classic lefty; he can go a couple of innings, or he can match up with one tough lefty hitter. You love that versatility.
"Figueroa has come back from Tommy John surgery throwing strikes and he was good for us even though he rode the train from Sacramento to Oakland. Norberto has tremendous stuff. Olson came here looking to impress, and we're learning what he can do. And Okajima has that great deceptive motion and screwball. He had one bad year (in 2010), but he was one of the guys who helped Boston win a World Series (2007), and that means something.''
The good news for the A's is that Okajima and Olson are on minor-league contracts, so they can be kept in the organization even if they don't make the final 25. Among the rest, only Blackley is out of options, meaning Oakland can send the others to the minors without fear of losing them.
Or the A's can make a trade.
"It's too early for us to have to worry about making any kind of decision," general manager Billy Beane said. "But I am never going to worry about being in the position of having too many good players. There are a lot of good candidates."
The A's have one more year calling Phoenix Municipal Stadium home before making the switch. Oakland has been calling Muni home since 1982, but the A's were the original tenant when HoHoKam opened in 1978.
Starter Bartolo Colon gave up four runs in the first inning and another in the second. He didn't walk anyone but yielded five hits, including a solo homer to account Kansas City's run in the second.
He said that he may be at a bit of a voting disadvantage; he has about 35,000 Twitter followers (@joshreddick16). Bryan has about 580,000 (@WWEDanielBryan).
Giants prospect Francisco Peguero is impressing at the plate this spring. Page 4