Pregame notes: Nakajima could be in Oakland soon … playing other positions

In for John Hickey all this week. Somehow managed not to get struck by lightning today …

If you’re a diehard A’s fan that keeps tabs on the organization at all levels, you probably noticed that Japanese infielder Hiro Nakajima played second base Monday night (with Jemile Weeks at shortstop) for the Sacramento RiverCats. And if you’re really on top of things, you’ve noticed Nakajima is playing third base Tuesday night.

With Jed Lowrie so locked in at shortstop with the big club, the A’s are exploring what they can do with Nakajima as a major leaguer at other infield positions. His official rehab assignment is up on Thursday, and he could possibly be with Oakland soon.

The A’s aren’t exactly hurting at second base with Eric Sogard and Adam Rosales both capable of manning the position, and Josh Donaldson is entrenched at third. But Bob Melvin has been creative with the DH spot, so Nakajima could still see time at all three infield spots if promoted to Oakland.

“I talked to Steve Scarsone, the Triple-A manager, today and he said he looked really comfortable (at second base),”┬ásaid manager Bob Melvin. “The plans are┬ápotentially to play him at third as well. He’s been working out some at third base, obviously. We wouldn’t have him just go in there without any work.

“I think it just keeps a lot of options open,” Melvin said. “We find out more about him, too. His position is shortstop, it’s where he’s been his whole career, but he’s open to playing other positions, too, and he’s a hard-working guy.”

Melvin said he doesn’t know yet what the front office plans are just yet for Nakajima coming to the majors. But it wouldn’t be that surprising to see him turn up in Houston this weekend, or perhaps against the Giants next Monday at home.

Some quickies:

–Coco Crisp wasn’t in the lineup, but he isn’t hurt. After playing four straight days since coming off the disabled list and putting in a particularly hard night of running in Monday’s 9-2 victory, Melvin decided to give him a day.

“He ran around a lot last night, and I’ve got to keep him healthy,” Melvin said. “So he’s off today, he’ll play (Wednesday), then off Thursday (a team off day) so that’ll be two out of three days off. I feel like it’s the right things to do, and I know the numbers.”

It was particularly surprising considering Crisp is one of the A’s hitters who has had success against Texas starter Yu Darvish (3-for-6 with a triple and a homer).

“He wants to play, but he doesn’t fight it,” the manager said. “He understands we’re trying to keep him healthy. When he has a good game, he’s tired, because he’s doing everything. He’s running around a lot, he’s getting on base, he’s stealing bases, he’s running around in the outfield and the center fielder is involved in every play that in the outfield. And he’s a slight guy. He does have an injury history because of how hard he plays, so it’s our job to try to combat that.”

Daric Barton, designated for assignment for a second time this week, once again cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Sacramento. Melvin maintained the A’s still value Barton despite the fact that they’ve exposed him twice on waivers.

“The defense stands out,” Melvin said. “If something were to happen to (Brandon) Moss, who’s actually an outfielder playing first base now, we’re limited in the organization with what we have at first base. There’s more value there based on the fact that we don’t have a lot of depth at the position.”





Carl Steward