PHOENIX -- The A's enjoyed something of a Japanese-style workout on Friday, setting up a pair of batting cages side-by-side on one of their four fields at Papago Park.
After seeing Japanese teams make use of this setup before exhibition games in Tokyo in 2012, the A's toyed with the idea of copying the format last spring but were hesitant of coaches getting hurt while throwing. Then bench coach Chip Hale came up with the idea of using pitching machines, paving the way for Friday's wildly successful experiment.
"Double the work and in just two and a half hours," said manager Bob Melvin. "It was a good day out there today."
Hitters faced a left-handed curve-throwing machine and a right-handed one.
"Sometimes in spring you work your way into breaking balls, which can be more difficult in games, and this helps to kind of speed the process up," Melvin said. "It was consistent with strikes, and guys were swinging."
"It's definitely an interesting way of doing things," said first baseman Nate Freiman. "I like it."
Since that was the general consensus, the A's plan to utilize the system again this spring.
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.