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Hiroyuki Nakajima could begin the season in the minors

Mar 25, 2013, 11:35 PM EDT

Hiroyuki Nakajima AP AP

When the Athletics signed Hiroyuki Nakajima to a two-year, $6.5 million contract over the winter, the assumption was that he would open the season as the team’s starting shortstop. However, after a rough introduction to the majors, it’s increasingly likely that it’s not going to happen. In fact, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle hears that he could begin the season in the minor leagues.

The buzz in the clubhouse today was that the A’s are seriously considering having Hiro Nakajima open the season at Triple-A Sacramento.

The Japanese shortstop was out of the lineup today and isn’t in Tuesday’s’s tentative lineup, either. A’s management had been hoping Nakajima would feel comfortable with the transition to big-league baseball by now, but it hasn’t happened.

Nakajima is batting just .150 (6-for-40) with one double, one RBI and an 11/4 K/BB ratio during Cactus League play and is hitless over his last eight games. Shea hears that the Athletics want the 30-year-old “in a groove” before he plays his first regular season game in the major leagues and feel that Triple-A could provide him the opportunity to get comfortable. For what it’s worth, Nakajima homered in a minor league exhibition game on Saturday during which he also played some second base.

If Nakajima isn’t included on the A’s Opening Day roster, Jed Lowrie would likely start at shortstop. Scott Sizemore could get an opportunity to start at second base, though Eric Sogard and Adam Rosales could also be in the mix for playing time.

  1. mikeincmn - Mar 26, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    Screams Nishioka and the multitude of other failed Japanese infielders who either werent as talented as hyped or couldn’t adjust.

    • jdd428 - Mar 26, 2013 at 1:42 AM

      Like Kazuo Matsui too. At least Tadahito Iguchi was solid for a couple seasons and got a WS ring!

  2. butchhuskey - Mar 26, 2013 at 1:21 AM

    Will he still think Billy Beane is sexy and cool if he starts the season in AAA?

    • whmiv21 - Mar 26, 2013 at 1:38 AM

      Of course he will. We’re talking about friggen’ Billy Beane here.

      • butchhuskey - Mar 26, 2013 at 1:48 AM

        I guess if you’re handsome enough to have Brad Pitt play you in a movie, your charisma can’t be denied

    • kiwicricket - Mar 26, 2013 at 1:45 AM

      The contract Billy gave him can still buy a lot of ‘sexy and cool’

  3. Old Gator - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    And, of course, they’re still casting voiceovers for the new Godzilla movie:

    Except this time, the voiceovers will have to be in Japanese. The Japanese will no doubt find it hilarious to watch Juliette Binoche’s and David Stratharn’s lips stop moving before they’re finished saying something.

  4. APBA Guy - Mar 26, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Not really a surprise if he spends April-or more-in the minors. As you point out he hasn’t hit at all, and he hasn’t been Rey Ordonez at short, either. As I said yesterday, the A’s are likely to start the season with 12 pitchers, leaving only four bench slots, two of which are occupied by Norris and Chris Young. So the other two guys have to have maximum versatility, which Rosales and Sogard have when compare to Barton and Nakajima.

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