"You never know how spring plays out, if someone else pops up out there," Melvin said. "Our people are always scouring to find a complement."
Turns out Freiman had just been welcomed into the fold. The 26-year-old, originally an eighth-round pick by the Padres in 2009, was selected by Houston in the Rule 5 Draft just three months ago, so he must spend the entire season on the A's big league roster or be exposed to waivers and offered back to San Diego.
Freiman, who stands 6-foot-8, spent the entire 2012 season at Double-A San Antonio, where he batted .298 with 24 home runs and 105 RBIs for a .502 slugging mark in 137 games. His career average, spanning four Minor League seasons, is not too far off at .294, and he's collected a total of 71 home runs over that time.
He was hitting .278 with one home run and seven RBIs in 19 games for the Astros this spring. He will be in A's camp Sunday.
"I just know he's a power-hitting first baseman that hits from the right side," Melvin said. "I looked at the numbers. That's about as much as I know. We'll get him in when he gets here. We'll try to get him plenty of at-bats to where we can make an evaluation on him."
The A's have seven games to determine whether to keep Freiman on the active roster. Should they opt to give him back to the Padres, Brandon Moss is likely to begin the season as the everyday guy at first base without a right-handed complement.
Melvin is comfortable with that, though he's not yet ruling Daric Barton out of the mix. The left-handed Barton, who has a non-guaranteed contract, has consistently hit left-handers better than right-handers, and his defense is above average. Still, his time with the A's may be nearing an end.
"We're not quite there yet, as far as what that dynamic will look like at first," Melvin said.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.