GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Once bountiful in number, A's middle infielders are dropping like flies.
Oakland entered Tuesday with as many as six players vying for spots in the heart of the diamond and left it with only four of them healthy.
Just hours after announcing that Adam Rosales would start the season on the disabled list, the A's watched shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima exit the 10th inning of a road game against the Indians with a left hamstring strain. He's considered day to day.
"It's too bad," manager Bob Melvin said. "Hopefully it's nothing significant and he'll be back playing in a few days, but you don't know with hamstrings. They can be difficult injuries."
Nakajima suffered the injury while running from first to second on a sacrifice bunt, just minutes after he had found his way out of a 0-for-20 slump with a base hit. He motioned for a trainer and walked off the field with a slight limp under his own power, ultimately deferring questions from the media before getting on the team bus.
The struggling infielder's murky health status only makes it that much more plausible that he doesn't begin the year on the A's 25-man roster. Rather, Jed Lowrie is likely to begin the season as the everyday shortstop, with Scott Sizemore and Eric Sogard sharing duties at second base. Andy Parrino, who is still in camp, is expected to start the year in Triple-A Sacramento.
That's where Nakajima seems destined to pick up more at-bats before making his Major League debut. Should his injury prove to be anything but minor, the A's could place him on the 15-day disabled list and have him rehab with the River Cats. Or, they can simply option him there before setting their roster.
Healthy or not, Nakajima still has work to do.
"He was working on some stuff in batting practice today, trying to use his back side and get his legs more involved," Melvin said. "He had a good BP today and took a good swing on that one there in the 10th, so maybe he's making progress, finding something that's working for him."