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MESA, Ariz. – A’s manager Bob Melvin reiterated Tuesday what he had told reporters at FanFest:
He would prefer that Marcus Semien go out and win the starting shortstop job rather than have it handed to him. Consider it Melvin’s plan to not let any of the 61 players in Oakland’s camp to get too comfortable with their status.
From the day he was acquired from the White Sox in the Jeff Samardzija deal, Semien has been referred to by those outside the team as the A’s starting shortstop. And even general manager Billy Beane basically stated during the winter meetings that Semien would be the everyday guy.
Melvin wants that to happen, he just wants Semien to work his way into that spot on merit.
“We’re going to give him every opportunity to win the job,” Melvin said. “Now, you have to create your own reps once you’re given that opportunity. Our expectation is he will. He definitely has the athletic ability to do it. You don’t want to put yourself in a corner and give something to somebody. I don’t think he wants that either. I know he wants to go out there and prove himself and earn a job, and that’s the way he should look at it.”
CAMP BATTLE: Keeping with the shortstop angle, Melvin was asked who would sub in at shortstop if Semien weren’t in the lineup. The first person he mentioned was Eric Sogard, and he believes Sogard still has a place on the A’s despite the addition of Semien and second baseman Ben Zobrist.
“Everybody’s kind of leaving Sogey out of the mix here,” Melvin said. “Say it does work out the way we expect with Marcus. It’s not like Sogey isn’t gonna get to play. It’s just gonna be split up more than in the past. The way we do things, even if he isn’t the so-called starter on a particular day, he’s still going to get his share of at-bats and contribute the way he has. It’ll probably just be a little more at some different positions.”
[RELATED: Don't put (position) label on Ben Zobrist]
Sogard has been part of a platoon at second base each of the last two seasons. Last year he hit just .223 in 117 games while splitting the position with Nick Punto and Alberto Callaspo.
TEACHING MOMENT: OK, this isn’t so much about teaching as it is learning.
Right-hander Jarrod Parker is expected to be sidelined at least until June as he recovers from his second reconstructive elbow surgery. When he was rehabbing from his previous procedure in 2010 while in the Diamondbacks’ organization, he used the comeback period to hone his changeup. That’s now a primary weapon of his in the majors.
Now that he’s throwing off the mound during this second recovery, Parker said he would like to return with a better curve ball.
That will be a gradual process, as Parker doesn’t want to put too much pressure on his right elbow too early. But he threw fastballs and changeups off the mound Tuesday, and he threw his curve from in front of the mound.
“I want the curve ball, slider, I’ll take it all,” Parker said. “But at this point, the curve ball is more important. It’s good based on how it feels now. If I throw a lot more four-seamers, which I might, (the curve) might go better with it.”
ODDS AND ENDS: Lefty Sean Nolin, sidelined while recovering from sports hernia surgery, said he suffered his injury last May while with Toronto and it cost him about six weeks. He returned to pitch afterward, then participated in the Arizona Fall League after the season. His surgery took place three months ago, but Nolin said the recovery often takes more than the six to eight weeks’ time that is estimated. He still feels discomfort on the left side, and that’s the side he pushes off the mound with. … Melvin said the A’s will play intrasquad games on March 1 and 2 at Fitch Park, in advance of their exhibition opener the next day against the Giants.