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A’s will give Young room to grow in left and right as the Cactus League kicks off

PHOENIX – A’s manager Bob Melvin would like nothing better than to make things easy on Chris young.

Well, that’s not going to happen. Young, one of the better center fielders in the game and a former All-Star, will be playing out of position much of this season.

He has to play left and right in addition to center, and he’ll occasionally be the designated hitter as well.

The A’s have some institutional memory when it comes to moving center fielders to the corners. Coco Crisp did it at the beginning of last season and his first forays were less than graceful.

Then two months into the season, Crisp went back to center and it was Yoenis Cespedes’ time to learn the left field tango. It took a while for him to click, too.

“The thing I remember,’’ Melvin said, “is that by the end of the year he really had it down.’’

Melvin is counting on the same from Young, including the learning curve at the beginning.

“He’s done the drills, but it’s tough to tell anything from that,’’ Melvin said. “It’s all about playing in the games.’’

Young gets a bit of a break today. He’ll play center field against the Brewers in Maryvale. On Sunday, however, he’s down to play right field against the Angels in Tempe.

And if he looks a little rough out there, Melvin will want him to know that he’s not the first one to get out of the gate slowly when making the conversion.

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.