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A's players might want nametags for first full workout

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MESA, Ariz. (AP) The Oakland Athletics might want to use nametags for the first full squad workout of the spring Wednesday.

One would be hard-pressed to find a major-league team with more newcomers.

''Your team makes nine trades involving 27 players, that probably doesn't happen often,'' manager Bob Melvin said Tuesday.

Melvin had a lot of young players pass through the revolving door when he managed the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2005-09, but this is different in the sense that by comparison, the A's have more experience and therefore are more of a puzzle for Melvin to put together.

First base will be the domain of Ike Davis and Billy Butler. Davis, once a first-round pick by the New York Mets, was acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh and has had health issues and has struggled to find his swing at times.

The left-handed hitting Davis will play primarily against right-handed pitchers, with right-handed hitting Billy Butler playing against lefties as well as serving as the primary DH. Butler left the American League-champion Kansas City Royals to sign a three-year, $30 million free-agent deal with the A's.

Mark Canha also could figure into the mix. Melvin likes his swing. Canha was acquired in a trade with Colorado after the Rockies selected him in the Rule 5 Draft from Miami.

''Canha can go against lefties or righties and even play some outfield,'' Melvin said.

Ben Zobrist will take over at second base after coming over from the Tampa Bay Rays, and has the versatility to step in at other infield spots.

Melvin said 24-year-old Marcus Semien, a Bay Area native who returned home in a trade with the Chicago White Sox for right-handed starter Jeff Samardzija, ''will be given every opportunity'' to win the shortstop job.

The A's traded All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson to Toronto, but the man they got in return, Brett Lawrie, should fit in nicely.

Lawrie seldom sits still, and Melvin said A's fans ''will like his energy.''

The outfield is a little more stable, with Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick back to man center field and right field, respectively. That leaves left field and holdovers Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry.

Stephen Vogt and Josh Phegley are expected to share the catcher's job. Vogt saw a good amount of time along with Derek Norris and John Jaso, but both are gone. Vogt is coming back from an injured foot, meaning the door is open to a greater degree for Phegley, who was acquired with Semien from the White Sox in the Samardzija deal.

After right-hander Sonny Gray, the projected opening day starter, and left-hander Scott Kazmir, the rotation is up in the air.

Several young arms are in camp to vie for the other three spots, and former Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito serves as an intriguing option.

In the bullpen, left-hander Sean Doolittle, the closer, likely will open the season on the disabled list with shoulder discomfort, meaning right-hander Tyler Clippard (trade with Washington) likely will step in until Doolittle is ready.

Melvin even has a new bench coach sitting alongside him. Mike Aldrete assumes that role after Chip Hale was named manager of the Diamondbacks.

NOTES: Melvin will give a ''state of the team'' address before the team takes the field Wednesday. ... Hitters will face live pitching right out of the gate. ... Melvin likes non-roster INF Joey Wendle, acquired from Cleveland in a trade for 1B Brandon Moss. ... Melvin often throws batting practice, and looks more at how the hitters swing the bat than where the ball goes. ''When they make good contact, you can even tell by the sound,'' he said.