Mark Duncan Associated Press Yoenis Cespedes, right, is greeted by Eric Sogard after hitting a two-run homer in the fifth inning of the A's 7-6 win over Cleveland.

Injuries shake up options in the Oakland infield

Published: Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2013 - 6:38 am

GOODYEAR, Ariz. – The A's infield situation became a bit less jumbled Tuesday when utilityman Adam Rosales was placed on the disabled list because of a strained left ribcage muscle and shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima strained his left hamstring.

Nakajima was hurt while running the bases during the final inning of the A's 7-6, 10-inning win over Cleveland. After the game, Nakajima said through an interpreter he hopes the injury is just a cramp and he can play today.

Manager Bob Melvin wasn't quite as optimistic as Nakajima, who broke an 0-for-22 slump with a line-drive single off the first baseman's glove.

"It's a left hamstring strain," Melvin said. "It's too bad, because he'd finally gotten a hit. It's probably not serious, but you don't know with hamstrings. They can be a difficult injury."

Rosales, who was batting .324 this spring, will be sidelined until at least April 10 after getting injured while making a throw Monday.

"It's too bad, because the guy was finally healthy again," Melvin said of Rosales. "This is a tough one to lose."

The A's have infield depth, though it could be sorely tested if anything further happens. They also could recall second baseman Jemile Weeks, who was sent to the River Cats on Sunday.

For now, the A's might be looking at switch-hitting Jed Lowrie at shortstop and a platoon of the left-handed-hitting Eric Sogard and right-handed Scott Sizemore at second base.

Befuddled Blackley – Travis Blackley said he's as perplexed as he has ever been throwing a baseball.

He said all four of his pitches – fastball, changeup, two-seamer and slider – are working, but he's still getting lit up.

It happened again Tuesday when Blackley, asked to hold a two-run lead in the ninth, blew the save. He got another two-run lead in the 10th and gave back a run before finally finishing off the Indians. His spring ERA is 14.21.

"Neither (inning) was pitched very well," Melvin said. "He will tell you that."

Actually, he won't.

"I'm making all my pitches," Blackley said. "I can't wrap my head around this. Imagine my surprise giving up those runs. It's very frustrating. I talk to (pitching coach) Curt Young, and there's nothing he can tell me, because the location (of the pitches) is good. I don't know what is going on, but I won't give up."

Six weeks ago, Blackley was considered a shoo-in to make the roster, but he's no better than 50-50 now, and that estimate might be on the high side.

With Blackley struggling, Jordan Norberto, once a long shot to make the roster, is seeing his stock rise. He threw a scoreless inning Tuesday.

"With Norberto, it's all about him staying healthy," Melvin said.

Anderson tuneup – Brett Anderson made his final start before his Opening Day assignment against Seattle in Oakland on Monday. He allowed three runs (two earned) in 5 1/3 innings and finished the spring with a 6.75 ERA.

"The breaking ball was nonexistent," Anderson said. "But I had a good fastball and a good change, and when we get up in the Bay Area with the humidity, maybe the curve will break."

Freiman impresses – First baseman Nate Freiman, who was claimed off waivers from Houston on Saturday, is a candidate to make the roster.

He came in defensively Tuesday, and afterward Melvin said, "We like what we see so far."

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Read more articles by John Hickey



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