Athletics Officially Name San Jose as Home for Oakland's Alternative Roster

John Hickey

The Oakland A’s announced Friday that they will use Excite Ballpark in San Jose as the home base for the players on their alternative roster.

As was first reported Thursday by SI.com, the home of the San Francisco Giants’ Class-A team will join forces with the A’s after attempts to have Stockton serve as the alternative training site did not reach fruition.

Excite Ballpark, known in a past life as San Jose Municipal, is the home to the San Jose Giants of the California League and to the San Jose State Spartans.

The A’s will have as many as a dozen and half players report to the site this weekend. As the club, currently using a roster of 42 players at the Oakland Coliseum, makes cuts to get down to 33 (30 on the roster plus a three-man taxi squad that has to include one catcher), those players will make the 40-mile drive south.

“We are grateful to the San Jose Giants for their partnership in this unique endeavor for baseball,” Oakland general manager David Forst said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Dan Orum and his staff in San Jose for the duration of the 2020 season.

“Additionally, Larry Baer, Farhan Zaidi, and the San Francisco Giants organization were instrumental in making this happen and I appreciate their willingness to collaborate across the Bay. We’re excited for our players to continue their development and preparation to potentially join our Major League Club at some point this season.”

There is no small amount of irony in the move since it was just a decades ago the A’s tried – not for the first time – to solve their stadium issues by moving the Major League franchise from Oakland to San Jose. The Giants blocked the move, claiming territorial rights. MLB owners could have overruled the Giants with a vote, but no vote was ever taken.

The A’s ultimately moved on and currently are moving forward with a new stadium they hope will be built on the Oakland waterfront at Howard Terminal.

It likely didn’t hurt this time around that Zaidi’s path to leading up the Giants’ baseball operation began with the A’s and he, Forst and Oakland executive vice president Billy Beane remain close. And Orum is a one-time intern with the A’s, who left baseball for the tech world, but came back as president of the San Jose Giants.

All practices and baseball-related activities by the A’s in San Jose are closed to the public and media, consistent with MLB guidance to ensure the health and safety of the players.

Early plans had the A’s going to Stockton, where their own Cal League team is located, but some issues concerning COVID-19 in San Joaquin County led the A’s to look elsewhere. Forst said earlier sites in Alameda County were also being looked at.

For the moment, the A’s have 40-ish players working out in Oakland at the Coliseum. One, pitcher Jesus Luzardo, has tested positive for COVID-19, and is in quarantine. The fact that the other 18 players on the 60-man roster were up in their air was a problem, as A’s manager Bob Melvin acknowledged Thursday.

“I think everybody’s a little bit concerned about that,” Melvin said on a video conference call. “You know, would you like to have a few of these guys for us later on to extend some of the innings and some of these games. It’s not happening right now, so hopefully we can get it done soon.”

First-round draft pick Tyler Soderstrom, a prep catcher from Turlock, is expected to be one member of the first group of players reporting to San Jose.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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