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A's using all available time finalizing roster

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PHOENIX -- A's manager Bob Melvin will walk into camp Tuesday still carrying 36 players.

But come Wednesday evening, when the club packs its bags to head back to the Bay for three final exhibition games with the Giants, how many will still be in tow?

"I'm not sure yet. Somewhere around 36 maybe," Melvin said, smiling. "It's possible there are no more cuts before then, but I'm also not saying it won't happen."

As most teams are finalizing their rosters, the A's appear nowhere close to one -- and they won't be, it seems, until Sunday, when rosters must be set.

Oakland has yet to identify who will make up its middle infield. Jed Lowrie seems bound to gain one of the starting jobs, likely shortstop, while second base remains entirely up for grabs between Scott Sizemore, Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard.

Not named in that mix is Hiro Nakajima, the struggling shortstop who will probably remain on the roster but not in an everyday role -- at least for now.

"You can tell he has the ability to do it both defensively and offensively," Melvin said of Nakajima. "I think his track record in Japan shows that, and there's a reason we signed him and brought him here. We just haven't seen him get comfortable yet."

Elsewhere in the infield, the A's have to decide whether to keep one or two true first basemen. Brandon Moss is a lock, while the jury is still out on newcomer Nate Freiman, who will be offered back to the Padres if he does not make the team.

Then there is the bullpen, where 13 pitchers remain in camp, with seven spots up for grabs. Those decisions, like the infield ones, will come down to the final day.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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