Hiroyuki Nakajima could begin the season in the minors

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When the Athletics signed Hiroyuki Nakajima to a two-year, $6.5 million contract over the winter, the assumption was that he would open the season as the team’s starting shortstop. However, after a rough introduction to the majors, it’s increasingly likely that it’s not going to happen. In fact, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle hears that he could begin the season in the minor leagues.

The buzz in the clubhouse today was that the A’s are seriously considering having Hiro Nakajima open the season at Triple-A Sacramento.

The Japanese shortstop was out of the lineup today and isn’t in Tuesday’s’s tentative lineup, either. A’s management had been hoping Nakajima would feel comfortable with the transition to big-league baseball by now, but it hasn’t happened.

Nakajima is batting just .150 (6-for-40) with one double, one RBI and an 11/4 K/BB ratio during Cactus League play and is hitless over his last eight games. Shea hears that the Athletics want the 30-year-old “in a groove” before he plays his first regular season game in the major leagues and feel that Triple-A could provide him the opportunity to get comfortable. For what it’s worth, Nakajima homered in a minor league exhibition game on Saturday during which he also played some second base.

If Nakajima isn’t included on the A’s Opening Day roster, Jed Lowrie would likely start at shortstop. Scott Sizemore could get an opportunity to start at second base, though Eric Sogard and Adam Rosales could also be in the mix for playing time.

Brewers sign Gio Gonzalez

Gio Gonzalez
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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Milwaukee Brewers have signed Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez will get a $2 million base salary with $2 million in potential performance bonuses.

Gonzalez was excellent for the Brewers down the stretch last season, posting a 2.13 ERA over his final five regular season starts. While it’s not likely he can replicate that, given how terrible Milwaukee’s rotation has been thus far — they have a 5.74 ERA as a group this season — he can’t hurt.

Not a bad landing pad for a guy who had to settle for a minor league deal with the Yankees before being released over the weekend.