02/16/2013 6:07 PM ET
Melvin has options in A's outfield
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- In advance of Sunday's first full-squad workout, A's position players officially reported to camp on Saturday, paving the way for conversation about where some of them will play.
Such talk with manager Bob Melvin immediately shifted to the outfield, where the A's are juggling Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Chris Young and Seth Smith. Melvin reiterated that Cespedes, Crisp and Reddick are his everyday outfielders, from left to right, while Young will spell each of them on a regular basis. Smith will likely find most of his at-bats at designated hitter.
"We have a good group here," Melvin said, "and we're going to find the right combinations. With this time here, we're able to figure out where everything fits, and then come up with some kind of formula going into the season that works for everybody."
Center field is the only position Young played in his previous seven Major League seasons, so Melvin understands that "it's going to be hard" for him to learn both corner spots.
"The first time he has to go into another position, there's a lot of pride that comes into play, especially considering how good of a center fielder he is," Melvin explained. "Therefore, I know how difficult it's going to be his first couple of times out there, not only in a game in a different position but doing work at a different position. I'm very understanding of that, but he knows what's expected."
"During Spring Training, I'm sure I'll figure out a lot more what my role will be," Young said earlier this week. "As I go into the season, I'm sure I'll know a lot more. But as of now, I'm just showing up prepared to play."
Cespedes was not seen on Saturday, as his flight from Florida wasn't expected to land until evening, but he's fully expected to be in uniform for Sunday's workout. Also joining the team will be 2012 first-round Draft pick Addison Russell, who, like Cespedes, was traveling most of Saturday.
Lowrie wants to play short, but will move around
PHOENIX -- Jed Lowrie is not shy when expressing his feelings about where he fits best in the infield.
"I think I've proven that I can play shortstop every day, and that's what I think I am," Lowrie said Saturday, shortly after reporting to A's camp. "I'm an everyday shortstop that can play other positions."
Yet Lowrie, acquired from Houston in a five-player deal that sent Chris Carter to the Astros last week, is also understanding of the fact that his new team may need him to be a rover of sorts around the infield, since fellow newcomer Hiroyuki Nakajima has already been pegged as the club's everyday shortstop.
It's likely Lowrie will play all four infield spots this spring, and performances by players around him may very well affect where he starts the season. First the A's have to see just what they have in Nakajima, as well as Jemile Weeks and Scott Sizemore, who are competing for the second-base job, and third baseman Josh Donaldson.
In the meantime, Lowrie will share time with all of them.
"He'll do a little bit of everything to start, and like everybody here really, what I am going to tell them is to bear with me for a while," manager Bob Melvin said. "We have a lot of moving parts and we're going to see how it goes here."
Lowrie, 28, is entering his first Spring Training in Arizona, having spent each of his previous springs in the Grapefruit League in Florida. Yet plenty of familiar faces abound for the infielder in the A's clubhouse, as he played with Michael Taylor for a year at Stanford, worked out with Chris Young during an offseason and brushed shoulders plenty of times with former Red Sox teammates Coco Crisp, Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick and Hideki Okajima.
It was in Boston that Lowrie was quickly thrown into a competitive environment, so making the move to a contending team in Oakland from a rebuilding Astros club is all the more exciting for him. He's fresh off a month-long stay in Tampa, where he worked out with his trainer of eight years, Jason Riley, for six days a week.
"I feel great, ready to go," said Lowrie, whose trouble with injuries has been well-documented. "I haven't had any limitations with any of my workouts, so I'm looking forward to getting into real baseball activity. Until you get out there with the rest of the guys, it's not the same. It's a different level of energy."
A's might have Smith work out at first base
PHOENIX -- Add Seth Smith to the growing list of potential first-base options.
The A's designated hitter, who doesn't figure to receive much playing time in a crowded outfield this year, just might have an excuse to pick up a glove more at first base.
Such an experiment is just talk right now within the organization, but the 30-year-old Smith, who reported to A's camp late Saturday afternoon, said he could get on board with the idea.
"It wouldn't surprise me," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's a good athlete, a guy that was a quarterback. He certainly competes well, and it wouldn't scare him."
At the moment, Brandon Moss is the A's primary first baseman, with Daric Barton also around hoping to prove he still belongs on a big league roster. Beyond that, Oakland has Jed Lowrie and Adam Rosales as options there, too. But in recent days, a couple of outfielders -- Michael Taylor and Shane Peterson -- have also been seen taking grounders at the position, in hopes of diversifying their resume because their playing options are limited in the outfield.
"We might have late work with just first basemen," Melvin joked.
• Missing from A's camp on Saturday was Scott Sizemore, who was with his wife, Brooke, and their baby girl, Layla, who was born Friday. She's the couple's first child.
• Due to high demand, the A's have increased the Coco Lean Bobblehead giveaway from 10,000 to 15,000 on June 29 vs. the Cardinals.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.