PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Nate Freiman ducked on his way into the A's clubhouse on Sunday. He ducked as he entered the weight room and on the way to the dugout. The newest A's player stands six-foot-eight inches tall and says he's developed a habit of ducking whenever he enters or exits any doorway.
It will be a tall order for the 26-year-old first baseman to prove he deserves a spot on the A's roster with Opening Day a little more than a week away. Freiman was plucked from the Padres by the Astros in the Rule-Five Draft. The A's claimed him on waivers from Houston on Saturday, and as a result they have to keep him on their 25-man roster or he goes back to San Diego.
[RELATED: A's claim Freiman off waivers from Houston]
"I don't think they would have gotten him at this point if they didn't think there was a chance," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
Freiman could be the right-handed first base option the team has been looking for. He will play all nine innings as the designated hitter on Sunday and play the entire game at first base on Monday. They want to get him as much playing time as they can in order to properly evaluate him.
The move came as a bit of a shock for Freiman. Astros manager Bo Porter delivered the news to him in the dugout during the first inning of Houston's game on Saturday in Orlando. Landing on the roster of the reigning American League West Champions softened the blow.
"Everyone seems great here, everyone seems really nice here, I'm excited for the game to start," Freiman said. "It's a mixture of disappointment that it didn't work out in Houston with excitement for this opportunity here."
Double-A is the highest level of baseball that Freiman has played in. Last season with San Antonio, he hit .298 with 24 home runs and 105 RBI. He had a career-best .370 on-base percentage and .502 slugging percentage.
A's starting pitcher Dan Straily was happy to see the lumbering first baseman in green and gold. While with the Stockton Ports in 2011, Straily says he and A.J. Griffin had a tough time opposing Freiman, who according to Straily, single-handedly destroyed their playoff run.