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Nakajima bouncing around A's lineup

PHOENIX -- A's shortstop Hiro Nakajima will find his name all over the batting order this spring, while manager Bob Melvin figures out where he best fits in the lineup.

Having already hit second and sixth this spring, Nakajima was slotted in the seventh spot of the order on Saturday. It's likely he'll never want to hit there again.

The Japanese infielder was hit by a pitch twice in the left arm in his first two plate appearances, before he struck out swinging in the in his final at-bat of the day in the fifth.

"In the regular season, back in Japan, on average I got hit about 14 or 15 times," Nakajima said through his interpreter. "But not so much during Spring Training, so in that sense it was very surprising."

Still, Nakajima is more than willing to participate in Melvin's lineup experiment.

"In Japan, when I made my debut, I batted seventh in the lineup, and then I moved my way up to the No. 3 spot," he said. "But in terms of my positioning here in the United States, I really don't have any kind of [preference] of where I want to be. So wherever is open, I'll take it. As long as I'm contributing to the team, that's all that matters. My place in the lineup doesn't mean that much to me."

It was from the seventh spot where Nakajima stole his first base as a big leaguer Saturday, before also crossing home plate for the first time, too, on Eric Sogard's RBI single. Nakajima tallied as many as 25 stolen bases in a season while in Japan, and he said after the game he hopes his speed will translate to the American game.

"I want to maintain that kind of aggressive basepath approach here in the States," said Nakajima, who raced for second on his own. "I want to take advantage of this Spring Training time to increase my speed on the base paths and get comfortable on the base paths."

Melvin surely appreciates this kind of approach, since it will only help him determine a home for Nakajima in the lineup.

"He'll move around some," Melvin said. "I'm not sure what type of hitter we're looking at yet. Is he the type of guy that's going to drive the ball and drive in some runs? Is he a guy that I'm going to hit-and-run with? You might want to hit him lower in the order for production. Looking at our lineup last year, we got quite a bit of production from the bottom half, and we had some guys in the middle of the order that were on-base guys, and therefore you want guys below them that can knock in guys too."

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