Day two notes: Evaluating Hiro Nakajima

Day two notes: Evaluating Hiro Nakajima
February 13, 2013, 9:30 am
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Bob Melvin on Hiro: "We're all pleasantly surprised with what we are seeing." (AP)

PHOENIX -- There's not a cloud in the sky over Papago Park as the A's get ready to take to the practice fields for their second day of workouts.

On Wednesday all of the pitchers that didn't throw in day one will be on the mound. Bartolo Colon, Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, Hideki Okajima, and the trio of Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle, and Grant Balfour highlight the groups.

Melvin will keep a closer eye on the new guys early in camp, as he already has a lot of information on the more experienced players.

The A's will have a lot of tough decisions to make because they are stacked in the pitching department.

"We're in an enviable position," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "In the bullpen, I don't think I've ever had this much quality depth."

While everyone can't make the squad, the A's are focused on keeping as many guys as they can in the organization.

"You try to have backup, in order to withstand injuries, all those things come into play," Melvin said.

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Evaluating Nakajima:
Hiro Nakajima took batting practice and grounders at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Tuesday. Having only seen him play baseball in YouTube videos, it was nice to catch a glimpse of him in action live and in person.

Nakajima is in very good shape, he moved well, and he hits the ball to the opposite field. He looked like a veteran. His workouts have give the A's a better chance to evaluate him and Melvin shared his insights on the Japanese shortstop this morning.

"We're all pleasantly surprised with what we are seeing," Melvin said. "His hands work very well, as far as batting practice, he's not trying to do too much. His hands looked very sure while taking ground balls."

Always smiling, Nakajima looks like he is fitting in very well with his new team.

"He's serious about baseball," Melvin said. "He has an effervescent personality but he loves being out on the field."

It will be interesting to see how Okajima fits into the mix, and if he can help Nakajima with his transition to America and Major League Baseball. So far, Nakajima, doesn't look like he needs much help.

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Catching on
The A's skipper likes to keep a keen eye on the team's catchers -- he was one himself, after all. He says it's early, but foresees the newly acquired John Jaso and Derek Norris splitting time in a platoon.

"If you look at Jaso's splits, he hit right handers awfully well, Derek fared a little bit better against lefties," Melvin said. "But we think regardless Derek is an everyday guy and is going to hit righties."

Jaso, a righty, hit .302 against right-handed pitchers in 252 at-bats. He only had 42 at-bats against lefties. All 10 of his home runs last season came against righties.

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