Elk Grove High School alum David Freitas, a catcher obtained from the Nationals in the Kurt Suzuki deal in August, is a good listener.
"He takes instruction well," manager Bob Melvin said. "I said, 'Get up there and get yourself a hit,' and he did."
Freitas, 23, has hit and hit and hit - he has singles in each of his first three plate appearances in his first spring with the A's, and simply playing for the team is a dream come true for him.
"I've been an A's fan my whole life," he said. "The Bash Brothers, that's who my little brother and I wanted to be. When I got traded, my mom loved it, because at heart, we're all A's fans."
While with Washington's Class A Potomac team last year, Freitas got to catch Stephen Strasburg, who was on a rehab assignment.
"When he was warming up, he was throwing 94-96 mph - and then the first pitch he threw in the game was 99 and I caught it deep," Freitas said. "I was like, 'OK ... here we go.' I've never seen such an electric fastball."
Freitas, who might be right near home at Triple-A Sacramento this season, is working with strength coach Mike Henriques on greater hip flexibility, to help him move better behind the plate.
Drug penalties: The Players Association is considering harsher penalties for players who test positive for performance-enhancing drugs, but reliever Jerry Blevins, the A's player representative, said he does not believe changes are needed.
"The system is working," Blevins said. "A 50-game suspension for a first offense is plenty steep. People are getting caught, and there aren't many repeat offenders. I think the penalties are enough of a deterrent.

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