A's Donaldson bids for backup role

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A's Donaldson bids for backup role

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.

A's minor league video coordinator Mark Smith unexpectedly dies at 41

A's minor league video coordinator Mark Smith unexpectedly dies at 41

OAKLAND, Calif. – Mark Smith, the Oakland A’s Minor League Video Coordinator, passed away on Monday in Arizona. He was 41 years old. 

“The Oakland A’s suffered a tremendous loss today with the unexpected passing of Mark,” said Billy Beane, Oakland A’s executive vice president of baseball operations. “He was a valued member of our organization. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.” 

Smith served as the A’s Minor League Video Coordinator for eight seasons. He was instrumental in the creation of the department in 2009. Before joining the A’s, he was a member of the United States Air Force from 1998 – 2007. 

Funeral services are pending.

Oakland A's media services

Report: Red Sox, White Sox agree on blockbuster trade

Report: Red Sox, White Sox agree on blockbuster trade

The Red Sox and White Sox reportedly made a blockbuster deal on Tuesday morning.

Chicago is sending Chris Sale to Boston in exchange for four prospects, according to Fox Sports' Rosenthal.

Sale went 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA last season and registered a league-leading six complete games.

He has been an All-Star each of the last five years.

More to come...