The Oakland Athletics starter Spring Training with a competition for the second base job between no less than three players.
By the time Opening Day is here, the team is probably thankful that they’ll have one.
A couple of injury scares to the players with inside tracks on the job will do that, and the team is now feeling the full effects of one of them being a little more than a scare, as Jemile Weeks is still not ready to return to the big league camp yet. According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, Weeks isn’t due back with the A’s until towards the end of the week, after taking the last couple of weeks to recover from a bruised shoulder.
As for Scott Sizemore? Well, the good news is that he’s returned from a scary looking hit-by-pitch on his left hand; the bad news? The 28-year old has struggled since his return, going 0-for-9 in his last four games with five strikeouts.
Sure, Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard are both doing pretty well in their Cactus League campaigns (.897 and .911 OPS respectively), but they’re really playing more for a backup spot on the bench as opposed to a starting role.
The reason? Jed Lowrie.
In fact, you could say that this is the exact reason why the A’s traded for the super-utility man to begin with. Lowrie has started both at second and shortstop this spring, and owns a nice .375/.483/.708 triple slash over 10 games, with a pair of homers.
At the rate things are going with Weeks and Sizemore, Oakland isn’t going to have much choice other than to take the utility tag away from their new acquisition and find a regular spot for him to play.
Except there might just be a problem with that, too.
According to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, the A’s Hiroyuki Nakajima experience isn’t exactly going as well as planned — and perhaps rightfully so, considering that the Japanese free agent has 10 strikeouts over his 24 spring at-bats.
So, there could essentially be a couple of positions that could use Lowrie as a potential full-time player. Given that Nakajima is a newcomer, though, I suspect that he’ll be given a bit of a longer leash to get adjusted, which should mean that the team may want to focus more attention on their second base competition gone wrong.
Either way, Lowrie will have come in to camp without having a position to play, only end up being the glue that holds the A’s infield together by the time the season opens.
Just another day on the job for a super-utility man, then.