Lindblom hopes experience vs. A's helps this season
Right-hander joins Oakland from AL West-rival Texas after third trade in two years
PHOENIX -- Josh Lindblom has been traded three times in less than two years, shipped most recently to an A's team that clobbered him during his one-year tenure in Texas.
Oakland hit .349/.404/.535 off the right-hander last year, gaudy numbers Lindblom believes he can pick apart with his new teammates to help his own improve.
"Sometimes it's not just about watching video," Lindblom said. "I can ask all these guys what they saw from me and hopefully get better from that. When a trade happens, it's a shock, no matter what, especially inside the division. I don't think I've ever gotten used to it, but you have to look at it as an opportunity to meet new people and learn from so many people.
"It's a tough lineup to pitch to. The whole demeanor of this organization is to grind out at-bats and get your pitch count up quick. They don't have the power some other lineups may have, but they grind it out and get you in counts you don't want to be in."
Originally taken as a second-round Draft pick by the Dodgers in 2008, Lindblom was sent to the Phillies at the '12 Trade Deadline in a deal that sent Shane Victorino to Los Angeles. Five months later, Philadelphia included Lindblom in a package to the Rangers to land Michael Young. Lindblom called Texas home for nearly a full year, before finding out in December he'd been dealt again, this time with Craig Gentry to Oakland for outfielder Michael Choice.
Gentry isn't the only familiar face in A's camp. Lindblom, 26, played high school summer ball with Jarrod Parker's brother, Justin, in Indiana.
"Josh, Tommy Hunter, Lance Lynn, they were all on the same team," Parker recalled. "I remember wanting to hear how they played. They were a pretty good team at the time, and they were all heavily recruited in the area. It was pretty special having those guys in Indiana. Us younger guys looked up to them."
Now they're teammates, and Lindblom is ready to shift his American League West allegiances.
"Playing against these guys a couple times last year," he said, "you already kind of have a sense of the demeanor and mentality of the team, so it makes it a little bit easier.
"You look at the last two years, Oakland's edged Texas out. The feeling over there is kind of, 'How are these guys beating us?' You look at the pitching, the defense, and that's what winning is about."
Lindblom is one of several swing men in camp -- Philip Humber, Tommy Milone, Jesse Chavez and Drew Pomeranz fall in this mix, too -- hoping to make the club as either a starter or reliever on a deep pitching staff. He has experience in both roles, following his conversion back to a starter for the first time since 2010 at the urging of Texas' Triple-A Round Rock coach, Brad Holman last year.
"When I was warming up for games, I would throw four pitches," explained Lindblom. "I'd get into the game and rely on just my fastball and sinker. He thought it'd be beneficial if I was stretched out and able to use all those pitches, the changeup and curveball, too. If I were ever to go back to the 'pen, I could also use all those pitches in shorter stints."
Lindblom appeared in eight games for Texas, including five starts, and went 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA. He posted an 8-4 record and 3.08 ERA in 20 games -- 18 starts -- the rest of his time at Triple-A.
"I had a great year last year, even though I didn't pitch as well as I wanted to in the big leagues," he said. "When I was in Triple-A, I pitched well, and I definitely see myself as a starter, but know my role is kind of dictated by what the team needs."
"He's got a good curveball and plus-velocity and another guy the Rangers weren't afraid to start in a big game," said manager Bob Melvin. "There aren't many of those guys that are able to do that -- pitch out of the bullpen and, really, any role they needed him to do, and then spot start."
Lindblom's versatility has continually strengthened out of a willingness to prepare in the way former Phillies teammates Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon did.
Halladay, Lindblom said, always preached, "Well done is well said."
"It was a great place to learn," he said. "I still try to stay in contact with some of those guys. They're all great influences just by what they do. They don't have to say much. Roy didn't say a whole lot, but he was never sitting at his locker. He was always getting ready, always preparing, always doing something. Just to see that kind of mentality has rubbed off on me a bit."