SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- On Saturday, Hiro Nakajima spent some time on the back practice field at Phoenix Municipal Stadium working at both shortstop and second base. The Japanese All-Star has been very open about the possibility of playing other positions, the A's will be taking him up on that offer.
Nakajima will play three innings at shortstop and three innings at second base in a minor league game at Papago Park Saturady. A's manager Bob Melvin said he is unsure if the three-time Japan Pacific League Gold Glove shortstop will appear at second in a Cactus League game this spring.
"We still look at him as a shortstop, he's a shortstop," Melvin said. "In my talk with him today, everyone else is playing different positions, it just kind of goes along with that theme. We try to be as versatile as we can."
When he was on the back practice field he worked with third base coach Mike Gallego and special assistant Phil Garner. It looked like he spent the most time working on flipping the ball to Gallego, who stood in at shortstop, as he practiced double plays.
"The most important part is that I am a member of the team," Nakajima said through interpreter Hiroo Nishi. "I just want to contribute however I can when given the opportunity."
Nakajima has four errors in 15 games this spring. Part of it is working on communication while on the field. He is batting .162 (6-for-37) with one RBI, three walks and 11 strikeouts with the A's. Recently he modified his approach at the plate and while the results have yet to show up in the box score, he says he is seeing the ball much better now.