03/23/2013 7:49 PM ET
A's get Nakajima some work at second base
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In an effort to diversify their new shortstop's skill set, the A's sent Hiro Nakajima over to a Minor League game Saturday to rack up some innings as a second baseman.
"We still look at him as a shortstop. He is a shortstop," manager Bob Melvin said. "Everybody else is playing different positions. It just kind of goes along with that theme. We try to be as versatile as we can, and he's the only infielder who has only played one position this spring, so we'll mix him in at second."
The A's haven't been wowed by any of their leading second-base candidates this spring. All the while, the versatile Jed Lowrie has been very productive, and he's said all along that he feels most comfortable at shortstop, which is another reason why Nakajima playing second base makes sense.
The Japanese infielder was scheduled to play three innings at second base and three at shortstop in Saturday's Minor League game, a setting that also allows him to pick up more at-bats. Nakajima is just 6-for-37 (.162) through 15 games.
Melvin said Nakajima is on board with playing second base, though he was unsure whether the infielder would see time there in a Cactus League game before camp breaks.
"He's great," he said. "All you have to do is ask him, and he wants to please, wants to help out in any way he can. He understands, too. He even said to me the first day I met him, 'I understand we're moving around a bit. I'm willing to do anything.'"
A's pick up first baseman Freiman off waivers
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The A's may have found their right-handed answer to a potential first-base platoon in Nate Freiman, claimed off waivers from the Astros on Saturday morning.
Earlier in the day, manager Bob Melvin foreshadowed this addition when asked about the club's first-base situation.
"You never know how spring plays out, if someone else pops up out there," Melvin said. "Our people are always scouring to find a complement."
Turns out Freiman had just been welcomed into the fold. The 26-year-old, originally an eighth-round pick by the Padres in 2009, was selected by Houston in the Rule 5 Draft just three months ago, so he must spend the entire season on the A's big league roster or be exposed to waivers and offered back to San Diego.
Freiman, who stands 6-foot-8, spent the entire 2012 season at Double-A San Antonio, where he batted .298 with 24 home runs and 105 RBIs for a .502 slugging mark in 137 games. His career average, spanning four Minor League seasons, is not too far off at .294, and he's collected a total of 71 home runs over that time.
He was hitting .278 with one home run and seven RBIs in 19 games for the Astros this spring. He will be in A's camp Sunday.
"I just know he's a power-hitting first baseman that hits from the right side," Melvin said. "I looked at the numbers. That's about as much as I know. We'll get him in when he gets here. We'll try to get him plenty of at-bats to where we can make an evaluation on him."
The A's have seven games to determine whether to keep Freiman on the active roster. Should they opt to give him back to the Padres, Brandon Moss is likely to begin the season as the everyday guy at first base without a right-handed complement.
Melvin is comfortable with that, though he's not yet ruling Daric Barton out of the mix. The left-handed Barton, who has a non-guaranteed contract, has consistently hit left-handers better than right-handers, and his defense is above average. Still, his time with the A's may be nearing an end.
"We're not quite there yet, as far as what that dynamic will look like at first," Melvin said.
Reddick's sprained ankle 'a minor thing'
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Less than 24 hours after spraining his ankle, A's outfielder Josh Reddick declared he'll be back in action come Monday.
Manager Bob Melvin confirmed this, after hearing from athletic trainers that Reddick likely would've stayed in Friday's game after suffering the injury while slipping had it happened during the regular season.
"It was a minor thing," Melvin said. "It takes quite a bit to get him out of a game."
Reddick is batting .306 with three home runs and 10 RBIs through 15 games this spring.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.