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Plenty of position players happy to be early

PHOENIX – The sun came out Tuesday for the first day of A’s camp, and the pitchers and catchers got their work in at Papago Park, dressed and took off.

But on the field at Phoenix Municipal Stadium after the exits were many of the position players, the guys who don’t technically have to report until the weekend.

Many of the A’s are already in camp, and they are actually putting in longer days than the players who have to be there.

Long after the pitchers and catchers had showered and changed and split, perhaps a dozen other A’s hitters were on the field, taking batting practice, laughing and carrying on. It was good fun, but it was also work.

That may say something significant about the club that so many of the players who don’t have to be here want to be here. While it’s true that Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie and Josh Reddick and others have yet to appear, players who figure to have featured roles in the 2013 season are sweating it out, including Coco Crisp, Daric Barton, Brandon Moss, Hiroyuki Nakajima, Josh Donaldson, Scott Sizemore, Adam Rosales, Jemile Weeks, and Chris Young.

Through it all, manager Oakland Bob Melvin is sticking around to see how things go, and some of the coaches are involved in throwing and hitting grounders to the infielders.

Small wonder Melvin likes the way this camp feels.

John Hickey

Returning to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.