With four ground outs by the Diamondbacks first batters, Callaspo handled the position with no problems being involved in five plays for the four innings he played. Using Daric Barton’s glove, Callaspo even scooped a one-hop throw from third baseman Josh Donaldson on one play and fielded a grounder then running to the base for a put out on another.
The A’s are set with Brandon Moss – a converted first baseman from the outfield last year – and Barton, both left-handed batters at first base. Callsaspo is a switch-hitter who could be used to start against overpowering lefties. Nate Frieman, a right-handed batter obtained on waivers from the Astros and required to remain on the roster, was used last year in 80 games however looks slated for Sacramento AAA this year.
At 5-foot 9-inches, Callaspo’s not your typical first sacker in stature. The others in camp all stand above 6-feet.
Callaspo, a .273 career hitter, was acquired by the A’s last year in a late July trade with the Angels for Grant Green. In his seven MLB seasons, Callaspo has started 485 games at third base, 230 at second base, and 21 at shortstop. He’s also played in the outfield nine games.
The A’s have not had a quality utility man with as a good of a bat since Tony Phillips played at seven different positions in 143 games batting .263 for the 1989 World Champion Oakland A’s.
Melvin also has the option of keeping Callaspo in the lineup as a designated hitter where he appeared in nine games last season
Callaspo has stated he was apprehensive of learning a new position. Making the transition is not easy as he has to learn footwork, taking throws, holding runners on base, and when to get off the base to take errant throws. It appears the experiment will be used again.
In addition to Moss, several A’s players in the past have made a successful transition to first base leading their team to winning seasons. Notables include Scott Hatteberg, a catcher, who made the move in 2002,; Jason Giambi, a third baseman and outfielder who found his spot in 1998; and even Mark McGwire in 1987 who came up in 1986 as a third baseman.