With the A’s season opener eight days away, their third base job is still up for grabs. Josh Donaldson has gotten the majority of starts in exhibitions, but manager Bob Melvin said Eric Sogard is still being considered as well.
“The decision is a work in progress,” Melvin said. “… I’m not saying that Donaldson is not starting opening day. I’m just not announcing an opening day starter there (yet).”
Does “work in progress” mean the A’s are considering acquiring a third baseman? Tough to tell, but I’d be surprised if they weren’t keeping all options open. The problem is, there aren’t any real attractive free agent options and trading for an established third baseman would be costly.
Sogard, who has served as a utility infielder in his big league time, has played his way into consideration by hitting .366 in 17 games. Donaldson, who moved from catcher to third base full time after Scott Sizemore was lost to a season-ending knee injury, is hitting .240 and is still going through some growing pains defensively.
Melvin said he was evaluating things “all the way around” before settling on a starter for the March 28 opener against the Seattle Mariners in Tokyo. The A’s could choose to platoon Donaldson and Sogard, since Donaldson hits right-handed and Sogard left-handed.
–Sizemore underwent surgery in Scottsdale on Wednesday morning to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and the A’s believe it’s realistic he could return by the start of next spring training. He also had a torn meniscus repaired. The procedure was done by Dr. Doug Freedberg.
–Coco Crisp will play left field in a minor league game Wednesday instead of starting against the Kansas City Royals as originally planned. A few A’s regulars will play in the same minor league game.
–So who have been the camp surprises that have impressed Melvin? He mentioned relievers Travis Schlichting and Evan Scribner, infielder Wes Timmons and first baseman Kila Ka’aihue. Ka’aihue’s play, in particular, is noteworthy as he’s competing for the starting first base job with Brandon Allen and Daric Barton. Melvin likes what he’s seen from Ka’aihue defensively as well. He’s made two strong throws across the diamond in games to nail base runners trying to advance to third.