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.

It’s official: Brandon Hyde named new Orioles manager

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It was not a secret that the Orioles wanted Cubs coach Brandon Hyde as their new manager. Reports swirled three days ago that he was going to get the job, though the Orioles denied it, calling them “premature.” Now, however, it’s official: the Orioles just announced that Hyde will be their new manager.

Hyde, 45, spent four seasons as a player in the minors with the White Sox from 1997-2000, then played in the independent Western League in 2001 before ending his playing career. He was a coach with the Marlins from 2010-12 and has been with the Cubs since 2013, most recently as their bench coach.

Hyde takes over for Buck Showalter, who led the Orioles from 2010-18. Last season Baltimore finished 47-115, posting its worst record in team history. To say that Hyde’s order is a tall one is an understatement.