The talk since spring training has been about the A’s depth.
It’s easy to see why Oakland wanted to get players like Craig Gentry and Nick Punto and Sam Fuld into the fold. They can play multiple positions, and when injuries crop up, the A’s would be covered.
Not so much right now, though. Starting shortstop Jed Lowrie is on the disabled list with a broken right finger. His backup, Punto, is on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.
That means second baseman Eric Sogard and minor league callup Andy Parrino have to play short. Sogard, the veteran, gets the bulk of the playing time against right-handed pitchers, but he’s not the player at shortstop that Lowrie is.
Lowrie is not Ozzie Smith. But his defense has been better this year, even if his range isn’t terrific. He can get a ball and start a double play. He makes some errors, but who doesn’t?
Sogard made a throwing error in the sixth inning of Friday’s 4-0 loss to the Angels that cost starter Jon Lester a run.
Sogard booted a double play grounder that effectively cost Jeff Samardzija two runs in a 2-0 loss Saturday.
None of which sits well with Sogard, even if he is playing out of position.
“I try my best out there,’’ he said. “Obviously, I’ve played a lot more second than I have short the last few years, and it’s tough to get the little things down and know your timing at shortstop when you’re not over there as much.’’
Manager Bob Melvin is quick to point out that Sogard is playing out of position, and the errors of the last two days are part of the bigger picture of the A’s injury problems.
“The last two days have not been much fun,’’ Sogard said. “Yesterday it slipped out of my hand and I threw it over (Stephen) Vogt’s head. Today I was trying to come in and get the out at second, and it kicked up and hit me in the wrist.’’
Sogard will play shortstop as long as the A’s need him to. But they hope to get Lowrie, who is out on an injury rehabilitation assignment, back Monday. The A’s defense will be all the better for it.
As for Sogard, who called both plays “routine,’’ he’ll keep putting in the work at shortstop even when he moves back to second base.
“I think I just need to continue to focus on the routine plays,’’ he said. “Obviously anything other than that is a bonus.’’