Canha adds to repertoire with debut in center

March 24th, 2016
Oakland's Mark Canha split most of his time between left field and first base last season.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A's slugger Mark Canha, without an everyday position but able to play many of them, added another to his resume in Wednesday night's 13-12 win over the Mariners: center field.

Canha already has experience at the corner spots of both the outfield and infield, but his ability to handle center field would further expand his value, much in the way the injured Sam Fuld can bounce around all three outfield positions.

A's Spring Training info

Fuld is expected to be out at least three weeks with a moderate shoulder sprain, precluding him from the Opening Day mix.

"With a healthy Coco [Crisp] and Billy [Burns], we feel like we're covered there, but with Sam not there, you're one injury away from potentially needing someone else to play the position," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

The ultra-versatile Chris Coghlan is also an option in center, though on Wednesday he was playing third base, a position he's manned just 11 times in 666 career games.

Canha split most of his time between left field and first base last year. The A's have since added left fielder Khris Davis and first baseman Yonder Alonso to the roster, leaving Canha to bounce around the field, and that's fine by him.

"It wouldn't surprise me if he handled it fine," Melvin said. "A lot of it is confidence and how you feel going into it, and if you have some trepidation, sometimes you're a little hesitant, but he's legitimately excited about it."

Melvin pointed to Canha's athleticism as the key to success at the position, where he's spent several days of the last week working out.

"He's a sneaky good runner, and he stole some bases for us last year," Melvin said. "He does a nice job wherever we put him. His more natural positions are left and first, but we even had him at third base last year, and he's open to anything. He just wants to be in the lineup."