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Nakajima to work in Triple-A as A's roster looks set

HOUSTON -- Following Thursday's off-day, when the A's decided to option infielder Hiro Nakajima to Triple-A Sacramento rather than call him up when his 20-day rehab assignment expired, manager Bob Melvin said the decision was largely based on the roster he already has.

"I think it was just more about what we have here right now," he said. "We like the personnel we have here now.

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"Certainly he is an option and will be playing all three positions to give himself more access here potentially, so a spot just wasn't open at this point in time. He has been swinging the bat better of late, but at this point we had to make the move, and it just wasn't in the cards for him to be here at this time."

A natural shortstop, Nakajima will also continue seeing time at second and third base with the River Cats, where he's hitting .265, while still making $2.25 million as part of a two-year deal he signed with the A's in December worth a total of $6.5 million.

The Japanese infielder suffered a right hamstring strain during the final week of Spring Training, leading to two months of rehab. Yet even when healthy before the injury, Nakajima struggled both offensively and defensively in big league action. When asked if Nakajima is now ready to play in the Majors, Melvin didn't sound overly confident.

"Certainly we initially envisioned that, and what we saw early in spring and then later in spring that the results weren't very good, but we think he certainly has the ability to, yeah," he said.

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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