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Healthy Canha confident he can find spot with A's

After missing most of 2016 due to injury, slugger enters spring without position
MLB.com @JaneMLB

OAKLAND -- Mark Canha may not have a position to call his own when camp opens in three short weeks, but he can at least claim full health after missing the majority of the 2016 season following hip surgery.

"We'll see what happens," Canha said from the Coliseum on Friday, ahead of Saturday's FanFest, "but I'm very confident about where my body's going to be."

OAKLAND -- Mark Canha may not have a position to call his own when camp opens in three short weeks, but he can at least claim full health after missing the majority of the 2016 season following hip surgery.

"We'll see what happens," Canha said from the Coliseum on Friday, ahead of Saturday's FanFest, "but I'm very confident about where my body's going to be."

Canha, who will be 28 in February, was expected to be an A's lineup mainstay -- no matter his position -- ahead of the 2016 season. But by early May, he was battling pain in his hip and lower back, ultimately succumbing to surgery to repair a left hip impingement.

Canha was given a six-month rehab timeline that proved precise -- "I've honestly felt like I was 100 percent since November," he said -- and the slugger has since taken to an intense strengthening program to return to the 2015 form that saw him produce 16 home runs and 70 RBIs in a breakout rookie season.

In the meantime, though, the A's have crowded the positions Canha typically occupies -- notably first base, where Yonder Alonso and Ryon Healy are expected to form a platoon. Canha could potentially pair with Matt Joyce in a platoon in right field, but Jake Smolinski remains a candidate for that job too.

"I've come into every camp, I feel like, with a chip on my shoulder and ready to impress and show everybody what I can do," Canha said. "I'm excited to do that this year."

Asked specifically where he sees himself fitting in position-wise, Canha quipped, "I think middle of the lineup and driving in runs."

"Obviously we have a mix of left- and right-handed guys at every position, like we always seem to have, so we'll see what happens in spring," he said. "It's always unpredictable. Last year, I wasn't expected to be injured, but things happen, so we'll see."

Canha, who works alongside A's shortstop Marcus Semien at Cal Berkeley during the offseason, has added 10 pounds to his frame, noting his tendency to easily lose weight during the season. The project wasn't necessarily difficult for this foodie; Canha happily ate his way through a two-week Europe jaunt with his wife, Marci. It also won him a bet with rehabbing pitcher Chris Bassitt (Tommy John surgery).

"We wanted to see who could gain the most weight, and I ended up winning," Canha said, smiling.

"I always felt like throughout my career, the bigger and more weight I could have, I felt better on the field, with better energy levels every day. Everything feels good. I'm ready to go."

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Oakland Athletics, Mark Canha