Will Nakajima's on-field skills match his eagerness?
Jed Lowrie had career highs in home runs (16), runs (43), hits (83), walks (43), and games played (97) last season. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
PHOENIX -- Every Major League baseball player will tell you they want to start 162 games at the position of their choosing. As a result, it wasn't surprising when the newest A's infielder, Jed Lowrie, arrived at camp and made it clear what his preferences are.
"We'll see how it shakes out, obviously I want to play one position every day," Lowrie said. "That's what everybody wants to do and I've proven that I can do that."
The versatile 28-year-old infielder is expected to take on a super utility role with the A's this season. Last season he played all 93 of his games at shortstop. If he had his way, that's where he'd be. Instead, he'll play all over the infield. Lowrie, who attended Stanford, is apparently a quick study, because he is well versed at playing third base, second base, and first as well.
It's his versatility that makes him an asset to the A's, but could that be to his detriment?
"I've played shortstop every day and that's what I think I am," Lowrie said. "I am an everyday shortstop that can play other positions. That's not necessarily a bad thing."
Lowrie flew in late Friday night and arrived to camp Saturday morning. He and manager Bob Melvin hadn't found the opportunity to meet face to face yet, but they have spoken on the phone. Melvin was upfront in his initial conversation with Lowrie after he was acquired.
"Like everybody here really, what I am going to tell them is to bear with me for a while." Melvin said.
Melvin has a staggering amount of moving parts to manage on the A's roster. One part that likely won't be moving in the foreseeable future is shortstop Hiro Nakajima. The team wants him to be as comfortable as he can as he transitions to life in a new country and a new league.
"We have a good group here, but we're going to find the right combinations," Melvin added.
Despite missing two months with an ankle injury last season, Lowrie had career highs in home runs (16), runs (43), hits (83), walks (43), and games played (97). In the eyes of the A's, it is tough to find a middle infielder with that type of production.
He will serve as an insurance policy for Nakajima, compete for playing time at second and back up Josh Donaldson at third. He is most comfortable in the middle infield, though.
"At the end of the day it's about winning," Lowrie said.
Lowrie spent the offseason training in Tampa, Florida, but is already familiar with many of his new A's teammates. He played with Coco Crisp, Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick, and Hideki Okajima in the Red Sox organization, has worked out in the past with Chris Young, and spent a season at Stanford with Michael Taylor.
"I feel great, I am ready to go, I don't have any limitations," Lowrie said. "You can do all the BP and ground balls in the offseason, but until you get out there with the rest of the guys it's not the same."