MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Naturally, the Oakland Athletics aren’t looking at just one guy to play first base.
“If you follow us, you know we do a lot of platooning,” manager Bob Melvin.
The A’s have a pair of players ready at the position. There’s second-year man Mark Canha and Yonder Alonso, acquired from the San Diego Padres in a trade on Dec. 2.
The 27-year-old Canha hits right-handed and played first base for 75 games with Oakland in 2015, starting 57. He also played in 61 games in the outfield (mostly left) and started 49.
Lefty-hitting Ike Davis started 61 games at first before a labrum injury in his hip necessitated season-ending surgery in August. Billy Butler played seven games there, too, although he is Oakland’s primary DH.
Davis became a free agent and recently signed a minor league free agent contract with the Texas Rangers.
The A’s already had Alonso on their radar. Alonso, who turns 28 on April 8, hits left-handed and played in 103 games for the Padres last season, starting 92.
“Canha can play other positions and hit right-handers pretty well (.271, and .254 overall). We could put him in the outfield or even at DH,” Melvin said.
Canha, who like Melvin is a University of California-Berkeley alum, hit 16 homers and drove in 70 runs.
Melvin might consider giving Alonso more playing time if he can stay healthy. Alonso was frustrated by two trips to the disabled list in 2015. Alonso hit .282 with five homers and 31 RBIs.
Canha is ready to contribute.
“I had a good year for a rookie year,” he said after Sunday’s workout. “There were some ups and downs. I had some success and I gained a lot of experience.:
“Coming back to the Bay Area was great. I love it there. The fans were great to me.”
How is he approaching the new season?
“I want to be ready for both (first base and outfield),” he said. “I’ll be ready either way.”
Asked about his success against right-handers, he said, “I might be better against left-handers this year, who knows? A lot of things can happen.”
NOTES: The A’s will be playing a 4½-inning intrasquad game on Monday. “I don’t know that we’ll keep score, but they all (players) will get a ribbon for participating,” Melvin said. ... Several players in camp have been slowed by flulike symptoms. ... Oakland opens its Cactus League season on March 3 against the Los Angeles Angels in Tempe.