03/27/2013 8:45 PM ET
Melvin faces tough task juggling deep outfield
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- The crowded outfield the A's have heading into the 2013 season made it through Spring Training healthy, and manager Bob Melvin got a chance to see how each is faring while getting the five players around 50 at-bats apiece.
"It's going to be a little work in progress once the season stars. It's easy during the spring, because not everybody plays every day," Melvin said.
Once the season starts, so will the challenge of keeping each of them sharp. With holdover starters Yeonis Cespedes, Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick joined by Chris Young and Seth Smith in the rotation, Melvin will be hard pressed to keep all of them sharp as the season progresses.
One thing Melvin found out, though, is that Young -- who played center field exclusively with the D-backs before being traded to Oakland in the offseason -- is capable of playing all three outfield spots.
"In Chris' case, he's shown that he can play left and right very well," said Melvin, who managed Young in Arizona when he first broke into the Majors. "He made one of the better plays of the spring in left the other day, and his first game he made a good play in right. He's just a good outfielder."
So Melvin has learned some things about how this outfield will work.
"But how we do it in particular, I'm not exactly sure," Melvin said.
Rosales' injury 'definitely a bummer'
PHOENIX -- Adam Rosales had made it through almost all of Spring Training healthy, finally. He'd shown his versatility and given the A's some offense, to boot.
Then an awkward twist of his body while playing in the field in Tuesday's game put it all on hold, an intercostal strain putting him on the shelf heading into the season. Rosales, 29, was placed on the disabled list Wednesday, meaning he won't be eligible to return until April 11 at the earliest.
Saying it's "definitely a bummer," Rosales said he'll have to take the steps necessary to return from the injury as quickly as possible. It could be 2-4 weeks before he is ready, depending on how the injury responds.
"A player like me, I've got to be patient, and really the most important thing is to stay calm and stay confident, because that was what was working for me and gave me success this spring," said Rosales, who batted .324 with three homers and nine RBIs in Cactus League play.
Rosales said he'll be taking it slowly this week, just receiving ice and treatment before taking the next steps toward baseball activities. It's a tough way to end what was a very productive spring for Rosales.
"This was the first spring in a while that he's been 100 percent healthy, and he's been such a versatile player for us," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's a plus defender wherever [he plays] and he had a great spring swinging the bat. It's not only disappointing for him, but it's disappointing for him because he's been sort of a hole-plugger for us."
A's still unsure if Nakajima will go on DL
PHOENIX -- One day after shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima sustained a strained left hamstring Tuesday, the A's still weren't sure whether he'd be ready to start the season or would have to be placed on the disabled list as of Wednesday.
"He won't be available today and there's a good chance [he won't be available] for the three games against the Giants," manager Bob Melvin said. "Until he sees the doctors [back in the Bay Area], I won't make any predictions about when he'll play, but he most likely won't be able to play in the Giants series and it could be longer. It's definitely a strain."
There was one bit of good news, however.
"I feel a lot better than yesterday," Nakajima said through an interpreter.
But just how long he'll be sidelined, Nakajima couldn't say.
"I really don't know. It happened yesterday, so it's really just been several hours since yesterday, so I don't know," he said.
A's announce Opening Day tickets sold out
PHOENIX -- It's official: The A's will open the 2013 season in front of a sold-out crowd at O.co Coliseum on Monday.
Coming off an American League West title, the A's announced Wednesday afternoon that Opening Day had become a sellout, with ticket sales reaching capacity days earlier than last year. In 2012, the team opened the season against the Seattle Mariners in Japan for two games on March 28-29 and then played their home opener on April 6, also against the Mariners.
The A's will take on the Mariners Monday on Opening Day, once again with left-hander Brett Anderson starting for the A's and Felix Hernandez for the Mariners in a 7:05 p.m. PT first pitch. It will be the first game of a four-game set that ends on Thursday afternoon.
The first 32,000 fans at Monday's opener will receive a gold rally towel and a magnetic schedule.
• Jarrod Parker allowed three homers, including two by Dexter Fowler, in his final spring tuneup, but got his work in Wednesday by pitching 4 1/3 innings against the Rockies. Parker, who will pitch the second game of the opening series against the Mariners, said the chance to start five innings and use all his pitches made the day a success.
"I got myself five times up and I feel good, and with five days' rest, I'll be ready to go Tuesday," said Parker, who finished the spring with a 7.45 ERA.
The main bit of work Parker got done in Arizona was refining his offspeed stuff to further deepen his repertoire.
"I feel pretty good with all four pitches at this point," Parker said. "I was able to work on my curveball this spring and take it into the season. I'm feeling pretty fresh and that's the important part right now."
• The A's used several Minor Leaguers through much of Wednesday's game, as regulars like Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick had one at-bat and then prepared for a quick getaway, as the team heads back home for the Bay Bridge Series. What that did was give Minor Leaguers like outfielders Jeremy Barfield, who homered, D'Arby Myers and Josh Whitaker playing time in a Major League situation.
"This is really kind of a moment for them to shine, to come over and play significant innings in front of a big crowd like that," manager Bob Melvin said after the team's 6-5 victory over the Rockies. "It's nice that not only can you get them into games like that, but also come away with the win."
• Right-hander Mike Eckstrom pitched two innings and battled through a scoreless ninth for his third save of the spring, continuing to impress Melvin.
"He's gone multiple innings for us several times. He's coming with us to the Bay Area, and deservedly so," Melvin said.
• Melvin's surprise of camp: infielder Eric Sogard, who batted an even .500 for the spring, including .607 (17-for-28) with seven doubles over his last 12 games.
"He struck out the other day and we're all going, 'What's wrong with you?'" Melvin said.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.