3/25/2013 10:00 P.M. ET
A's using all available time finalizing roster
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- A's manager Bob Melvin will walk into camp Tuesday still carrying 36 players.
But come Wednesday evening, when the club packs its bags to head back to the Bay for three final exhibition games with the Giants, how many will still be in tow?
"I'm not sure yet. Somewhere around 36 maybe," Melvin said, smiling. "It's possible there are no more cuts before then, but I'm also not saying it won't happen."
As most teams are finalizing their rosters, the A's appear nowhere close to one -- and they won't be, it seems, until Sunday, when rosters must be set.
Oakland has yet to identify who will make up its middle infield. Jed Lowrie seems bound to gain one of the starting jobs, likely shortstop, while second base remains entirely up for grabs between Scott Sizemore, Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard.
Not named in that mix is Hiro Nakajima, the struggling shortstop who will probably remain on the roster but not in an everyday role -- at least for now.
"You can tell he has the ability to do it both defensively and offensively," Melvin said of Nakajima. "I think his track record in Japan shows that, and there's a reason we signed him and brought him here. We just haven't seen him get comfortable yet."
Elsewhere in the infield, the A's have to decide whether to keep one or two true first basemen. Brandon Moss is a lock, while the jury is still out on newcomer Nate Freiman, who will be offered back to the Padres if he does not make the team.
Then there is the bullpen, where 13 pitchers remain in camp, with seven spots up for grabs. Those decisions, like the infield ones, will come down to the final day.
Sizemore hopes big outing is his breakthrough
PHOENIX -- See ball, hit ball. Scott Sizemore, who has struggled for much of the spring, did this four times in as many tries and drove in two runs Monday.
"I've been seeing the ball a lot better the last four or five games, and now I'm kind of putting the timing together, getting some results and gaining some confidence, which is also allowing me to kind of trust my swing," Sizemore said. "I still have some work to do, but I definitely feel like I'm making strides."
Monday's performance was just what Sizemore needed not only to aid his own chances of making the club, but to help validate the A's decision to option Jemile Weeks to Triple-A on Sunday, with a week still remaining before rosters must be set.
With Weeks out of the picture, Sizemore has the opportunity to stake a claim on the second-base job. Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard are still considered strong candidates, but continued production from Sizemore could put this battle to rest.
Sure, it was just one day, but manager Bob Melvin believes that is all Sizemore ever needed to get going. He entered Monday's game with just seven hits in his previous 41 at-bats.
"I think just getting him out there and getting him a lot more at-bats, he's feeling a lot more comfortable, and that's the way he swings the bat," Melvin said. "That's all it takes, and that's kind of what we're talking about with [Hiro] Nakajima. It takes one of those games to get you going, get your confidence up and start thinking positively and doing your thing."
Sizemore acknowledges that he perhaps lost some of that confidence while sidelined for a few days after getting hit by a pitch on his hand early in camp. Sitting on the bench gave him too much time to watch teammates like Rosales and Sogard hit away.
"Those first few games back, I was struggling and striking out a ton," Sizemore said, "and I just had to take a step back and relax and worry about the process and not be so result-oriented."
Sizemore is very familiar with the practice of patience, having sat out all of 2012 while rehabbing his surgically repaired knee.
"Obviously you can only say things are going to click for so long before you begin to doubt it a little bit," he said. "I feel like I've been making progress, and today was kind of a good indicator of that, that I'm making strides. I just hope I can have more days like this.
"It's a breath of fresh air to have some success and feel like I know what I'm doing up there again. It's not easy to come back and have it all click, that's for sure."
• Right-hander Dan Straily played the role of piggy-back pitcher Monday, entering the game against the Brewers following fellow starter Bartolo Colon's five innings of work. The plan was for Straily to finish the game, but that did not happen, after he allowed four runs on eight hits while using 64 pitches in three-plus innings of work.
"He just couldn't stop the bleeding," Melvin said. "We would've loved to have seen him finish that game, but at that point it didn't look like it was going to happen."
Straily and Colon are penciled in to pitch in the same game together again Saturday, the last day of preseason action.
• As expected, Josh Reddick returned to right field Monday after being out since spraining an ankle Friday. Reddick went 0-for-3 with two walks.