SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The 2-time American League West champions arrive at AT&T Park Thursday for the final tuneup games before the 2014 season against a Giants team hoping for another rebound year that ends with a World Series ring.

The A’s have been the league’s model of small market success in recent years, and this season the giants may have to emulate them to get past heavy-spending division rivals.


Divisional teams have made high-profile moves to try to take down the A’s – with Texas trading for Prince Fielder and Seattle adding Robinson Cano.

After losing in the AL division series in five games to Detroit in back-to-back years, these A’s are eager to get over that hump at last.

“I think we’re still trying to prove people wrong,” center fielder Coco Crisp said.

A year after winning the World Series, the Giants finished 10 games under .500, third in the NL West and they missed the playoffs. Leaving them with something to prove in 2014 as well.

“We don’t even have to have the conversation, a lot of the guys know it,” right-hander Matt Cain said. “We didn’t pitch the way that we wanted to.”

As the Giants begin a new year, they will try to keep up with the big-spending Los Angeles Dodgers and regain the grip they had on the NL West when the club won World Series championships in 2010 and `12 – even if everybody expects the Dodgers to be the team to beat.

“You do try to reflect back and try to learn from what happened last year and how you can get better,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You move forward, that’s what we had to do. There are some things we’ll talk about in the spring, mistakes that we made last year. Also, hopefully guys come in with an attitude, that they weren’t happy with what happened the year before and want to get back on track.”

The tree game series beginning Thursday gives the teams a final chance to fine tune things before the real action begins Monday when the Giants visit Arizona and the A’s host Cleveland.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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