A's extras: Sogard making a strong case, Nakajima improving

A's extras: Sogard making a strong case, Nakajima improving
March 23, 2013, 5:15 pm
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Last spring Eric Sogard hit .302 with three homers and nine RBI in 21 games. In 20 games this spring he has a .600 on-base percentage. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Thursday afternoon Eric Sogard's wife Kaycee dropped him off at the ballpark and awkwardly told her husband to "do your thang." He went 1-for-3 with two walks that day.

On Saturday, Sogard stayed hotter than the Arizona desert. The versatile infielder raised his spring average to .538 with a 3 for 3 day. The spectacled wonder stroked an RBI single in his first at-bat, drove a ball to center in his second plate appearance, and hit a solo home run his third time up. He added a walk in the seventh inning for good measure.

He's doing his "thang" alright.

"For me I just have to go out there and look at that whole perspective, where there's five or six guys competing for that same spot," Sogard said. "To go out and play everyday like I can and show them what I am capable of and hope that they see that and hope that they like it."

Sogard entered camp as an underdog to land the A's starting second base job, but he's making a good case.

"He's certainly right in the middle of the mix, he's probably come out of the pack a little bit," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He's a guy that's played for us before, so he comes to camp trying to win a job and he's doing everything he can to do that."

Sogard is no stranger to having a strong spring, however. Last season he hit .302 with three homers and nine RBI in 21 games. In 20 games this spring he has a .600 on-base percentage.

In the batting cage on Saturday, A's hitting coach Chili Davis, who played 19 years in the majors and amassed 350 homers and a career .274 average, said he wished he had Sogard's swing when he was playing.

"He's balanced, he's over the plate, smooth swing, he's not trying to do more than he can," Davis said.

Tommy Milone said he is very happy he doesn't have to face Sogard.

"He might not get a strike," Milone said with a laugh. "I'd try to get him uncomfortable, that's for sure. He's very comfortable at the plate. I don't think you could try and do anything about that right now."

Sogard seemed amused by the comments from Milone. Apparently there is a backstory.

"I faced Tommy a bit in college too, and I never remember it, but he said that I got him a couple of times," Sogard said.

La Potencia

Yoenis Cespedes also displayed his power. He launched an 0-1 breaking ball thrown by Tim Lincecum that sailed well over the majority of the folks sitting in the grassy knoll in left field.

It was the third home run of the spring for Cespedes, who is finding his stroke. The shot gave the A's a 2-0 lead over the Giants and their two-time Cy Young award-winner. He added a double in the fourth inning and finished the day 3 for 5.

Nakajima Improving

Hiro Nakajima played both second base and shortstop in a minor league game at Papago Park. He also connected for his first home run of the spring. According to those in attendance, he hit the ball out to the opposite field. Prior to the game, Nakajima said he has tweaked his swing a bit.

"It's not directly linked to the results yet, but I made a couple adjustments to my swing and I'm seeing the ball a lot better right now." Nakajima said through interpreter Hiroo Nishi. "That was behind the adjustment to my swing. I think the feeling is getting a lot better."

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