What you can and can't learn from Cactus League Game 1

What you can and can't learn from Cactus League Game 1
February 22, 2013, 9:00 am
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Bob Melvin noted that there is more urgency for players like Jemile Weeks and Scott Sizemore who will be battling it out this spring. (AP)

PHOENIX -- The Oakland Athletics begin Cactus League play on Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers. A's manager Bob Melvin has revealed his lineup for Game One.

Jemile Weeks, 2B
Hiro Nakajima, SS
Josh Reddick, RF
Brandon Moss, 1B
Seth Smith, LF
Chris Young, CF
John Jaso, C
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Scott Sizemore, DH

"Don't play too much into it," Melvin said. "No matter what I did there was going to be some thought behind it. In the first two days everybody is going to play."

This will be the first opportunity to catch a glimpse of Nakajima in game action. While he has drawn a large crowd all around the A's training complex, the real evaluating starts with him actually in a game. A's fan have been asking a lot of questions about the Japanese shortstop. Melvin will use the games to hopefully get a lot of the questions in his mind answered as well.

"Is there foot speed there to steal bases? Is he a hit and run guy or a guy that you want to let him drive in runs? There are a lot of unknowns about him," Melvin said. "We've seen the skill set here but you really don't get a good feel for it until you see him in games."

The upcoming games could also answer some other key questions. Particularly about who might be winning one of the biggest camp battles -- the starting second base job.

Melvin noted that there is more urgency for players like Weeks and Scott Sizemore who will be battling it out this spring. Their performances could be a large factor in who ends up making the team.

"It's all you have to go on," Melvin said. "You take into consideration track records if they are there. If you do have some competition, guys know they are in competition, they play a little bit differently."

CY in Centerfield?
Chris Young will be expected to play left, center, and right field for the A's this season. He says that he hasn't really gotten too much work in the corner spots yet this spring. Melvin will be playing Young in center one game, and then a corner outfield spot the next. 

"It's basically a new challenge that you have to take at hand," Young said. "You really don't have a choice. All I've ever known is centerfield, that's all I've ever played at the professional level, even growing up. I understand the situation, and I have to make an adjustment."

Young says it is tough to predict how it will go in the corner outfield spots simply because he's never played there. He is confident however, that his natural instincts will take over.

Game One Pitchers
I published the list with all the pitchers that will be throwing for the first three Cactus League Games here. In case you missed it, here are all the guys expected to be throwing in Game One:

Jesse Chavez
Justin Thomas
Bruce Billings
Mike Ekstrom
Arnold Leon
Fernando Rodriguez

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