The Oakland Athletics second base job for 2013 was supposed to be decided by a competition between Scott Sizmore, Adam Rosales and Jemile Weeks, with Jed Lowrie in the mix getting playing time all over the field.
Now, the team is just hoping that injuries don’t take them from having excess depth in the infield to not having enough players.
At the very least, they can put the competition on hold. As Jane Lee of MLB.com reports, the team has been holding out Weeks as a result of a shoulder injury he suffered during the middle of a double-play attempt in the team’s Cactus League game on Friday against the San Francisco Giants.
The team is calling it a “bone bruise” right now, and A’s manager Bob Melvin has said that Weeks’ ailing shouldn’t isn’t serious, and despite not having played since then, the 26-year old should be ready to go soon enough.
Weeks has been the primary second baseman for the Oakland A’s over the last couple of seasons, and is naturally the guy the team gave the inside track to over Sizemore this spring.
Even before Sizemore was hit by a pitch and taken out of game action, Weeks seemed to be well on his way to hanging onto that job anyway. The switch-hitter had been excellent over his four games in spring, racking up six hits over eleven at-bats, including a pair of doubles and a homer.
Given that Weeks’ value to the team comes mostly from his plate discipline and speed, the early doubles power that he’s showing is a good sign. Because he doesn’t really have home run power (four HRs in 948 PA), Weeks really needs to have the ability to hit the ball to the wall in order to really make use of his running skills on the basepaths.
The fact that he hit 26 doubles in 437 PA in 2011 was a big reason why he was a 1.9 fWAR rookie that year, and that the number dropped to 15 over 511 PA in 2012 was why he was barely replacement level in 2012.
He’ll still be the front-runner for the second base job when he returns, but Weeks now finds himself in another race with Sizemore – the one to come back from an injury as quickly as possible so they can continue to show their stuff on the field.
Considering that they represent most of the Oakland A’s depth at the position, though, the team is hoping that neither of them will end up rushing this one.