PHOENIX -- Manager Bob Melvin has said defense will be a theme for the A's in 2012 after the club committed 124 errors last year. That was the most by any Oakland team in 10 years, and the second-most in the majors in 2011.
So, some extra glove work was expected this spring. What wasn't expected was the sight of a player taking grounders the first few days of camp. After all, it's just pitchers and catchers right now at Papago Park. Aside from the occasional pitchers fielding practice (listed as PFP on the daily schedule), these workouts consist more of side work and conditioning.
But there was Josh Donaldson taking grounders at third on Thursday morning -- with Melvin looking on intently, just a few feet away. The A's have not determined who the backup to catcher Kurt Suzuki will be this year, but Donaldson is certainly in the running.
The 26-year-old out of Auburn University made his Major League debut back in 2010, but has had just brief stints in the bigs. He has experience both behind the plate, and at first. But being that it's already quite the "Who's on First?" riddle this spring for the A's, it can't hurt to show off what else you can do.
Melvin said having Donaldson take grounders is something the staff has built into his spring. Melvin also said that Donaldson played a little third in college. And Melvin expressed that seeing his versatility certainly makes him more valuable.
Melvin emphasized that the more a player can do, the better chance he has at making a team. Donaldson is taking it to heart, and to the field.