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Sizemore returns to A's lineup at second base


PHOENIX -- Scott Sizemore was back in the A's lineup Thursday with his bruised left hand almost fully healed, and Jemile Weeks should return this weekend from a bruised right shoulder, Oakland manager Bob Melvin said Thursday.

After the pair of injuries put the A's second-base race on hold for a few days, the competition should heat up again in the next week. For Thursday's game against Seattle, Sizemore was penciled in at second, batting ninth.

Weeks received the majority of the club's starts at second base during the past two seasons, but following a strong rookie campaign in 2011, he regressed to a .221 batting average and just a .304 slugging percentage last season. As a result of that drop-off, Weeks said he doesn't feel like he's battling anyone but himself in regard to the starting job.

"I'm not out here battling any person," Weeks said. "Off the season I had last year, I'm just trying to better myself at this point. I'm bettering myself, and I feel like that will show in my game."

Weeks injured his shoulder during a double-play attempt last Friday against San Francisco, and he hasn't played since. He has been able to take ground balls and swing from the left side, but thus far it's been hitting right-handed and throwing that have caused the most trouble.

"You want to be out there on the field to show these guys what you can do and compete and get your feel before the season," Weeks said. "It's unfortunate for me that this happened, but the extra time certainly helps out."

For Sizemore, the only hindrance he's had as a result of the bruised hand is the follow through on his swing, when the torque in his arms is at its highest. The swelling has receded since he was hit by a pitch on Sunday, however, and Thursday marked the first time he was able to swing at full speed .

"I'm glad they gave me the rest," said Sizemore, who missed all of 2012 with a torn ACL. "It's a long season. Right now it's not the most important thing to push it and have something linger longer than it should."

The A's competition for second base remains open, and Melvin made sure to keep Jed Lowrie's name in the mix.

"It's a lot of moving pieces," Melvin said. "I'm not 100 percent sure what's going to be the dynamic. Lowrie? There are a lot of pieces we're still taking a look at through the spring."

Lowrie has played primarily shortstop in his five-year, big league career, and last season he played 93 games there for Houston. But with the Red Sox from 2008-11, he spent plenty of time at second and third and even mixed in some first base.

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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