A's notes: Lowrie, Young two of A's many moving parts

A's notes: Lowrie, Young two of A's many moving parts
February 16, 2013, 9:30 am
Share This Post

Jed Lowrie will be plugged into place where he's needed in the A's infield this season. USA TODAY IMAGES

PHOENIX -- One of the Oakland A's newest additions is expected to arrive on Saturday. Jed Lowrie, acquired in a trade with the Astros, is expected to be a Swiss Army knife of sorts for the A's this season.

He'll get a heavy dose of that right away this spring.

"A little bit of everything to start," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "Like everybody here really, what I am going to tell them is to bear with me for a while. We have a lot of moving parts and we're going to see how it goes here."

The A's skipper mentioned that he's only spoken on the phone with Lowrie since he became an Athletic, and was very open and honest with him about his role with the team.

"I did tell him it would work itself out in the spring. So just be aware that your versatility might work against you a little bit," he said.

Lowrie is capable of playing third base, shortstop, second base, and first. On the day he was acquired, he said that he is most comfortable in the middle infield. All 93 of his starts last season with the Astros came at the shortstop position.

Outfield shuffle:

The outfield version of Lowrie will be Chris Young. Also acquired in an offseason trade, Young will be learning right and left field this spring. The process hasn't fully started yet, but Melvin says he did see Young standing in left field the other day with coach Tye Waller.

"I know it, and he knows it. It's going to be hard," Melvin said. "The first time he has to go in at another position there's a lot of pride that comes into play, especially as good a center fielder as he is."

Josh Reddick will be staying in right field, Coco Crisp will be staying in center and Yoenis Cespedes will stick in left for the foreseeable future. Young will get to play in center quite a bit still as well.

"That's the great thing about spring, is not everyone plays every day," Melvin said. "I have already talked to Chris [Young] about 'You'll play center field one day, you'll play right the next. You'll play center field one day, you'll play left the next.'"

Infield shuffle:

Melvin says the A's will do their fundamental workouts with three different groups. On one field, Hiro Nakajima will play shortstop and on the other field, Lowrie can play the spot.

Oakland has made its position clear in terms of keeping Nakajima at shortstop for the immediate future. That will help keep him comfortable as he transitions to life in America. Nakajima, however, has already told Melvin that he would work on other positions if it could help the team.

Scott Sizemore, who just became a father on Friday night, is expected to stick at second base, even though he has experience at third.

Colon consistent:

Bartolo Colon, 39, has been in the big leagues since 1997. He knows a thing or two about preparing for the season, and Melvin doesn't have to keep too close of an eye on him. He has thrown twice in camp so far.

"Looks the same to me," Melvin says. "The stuff looks the same and I don't see any difference in him."

That's the same thing an A's scout said when they watched him pitch in the Winter Leagues this offseason.

He was 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in 2012 with the A's before being suspended 50 games for violating MLB's performance-enhancing drugs policy.

Tough as nails:

Grant Balfour was walking around the clubhouse on Saturday for the second day in a row. He had a slight limp, but everything is going according to plan with his recovery from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He is estimated to be out 4-6 weeks, but he can already bend the leg and walk on it. The A's are optimistic that he'll be on the quicker side of the timetable to return.