OAK@CLE: Nakajima sustains hamstring strain injury

SAN FRANCISCO -- Oakland manager Bob Melvin said Saturday it is "very likely" that shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima will start the season on the disabled list as he recovers from a hamstring strain, but the team will evaluate the situation on Sunday.

If Nakajima joins fellow infielder Adam Rosales on the DL, utility man Andy Parrino could be a logical option to make the A's Opening Day roster. Parrino has quietly posted a .378 batting average in 37 spring at-bats, but his glove is perhaps his most valuable asset.

"He's a good player," Melvin said. "A guy that can play anywhere in the infield, switch-hits, and he can play the outfield as well. When you talk about versatility, he's a guy that brings you a lot of versatility."

At the moment, Parrino appears to be fighting with first baseman Nate Freiman and second baseman Scott Sizemore for a single spot on the A's bench. The 27-year-old Parrino was acquired as part of the deal that sent Tyson Ross to the Padres this offseason.

"All spring it's been a battle between all the guys in the middle," Parrino said. "It's the only way to go about it, really. I think the front office and the manager like the competition between all of us, and I think it's going to come down to the last day."

Nakajima, 30, arrived in Oakland from Japan with considerable fanfare after signing a two-year deal in December. But he's had trouble acclimating to the Major League game so far, posting a .156 average and one RBI in 42 Cactus League at-bats, while also struggling in the field.

A's part ways with Blackley, Barton

LAA@OAK: Blackley tosses three scoreless frames

SAN FRANCISCO -- For a man who was just designated for assignment, Travis Blackley sounded like a grateful man on Friday night at AT&T Park.

The affable Aussie was sad to say goodbye to the fun-loving Oakland clubhouse after he and first baseman Daric Barton were designated for assignment. In related moves, the A's claimed right-handers Danny Otero and Josh Stinson, while reassigning lefty reliever Jordan Norberto to Triple-A Sacramento.

The A's have 10 days to place Blackley on waivers, trade him or release him. While Blackley said he would prefer to play "at the highest level possible," he didn't rule out a return to the Minor Leagues, where has spent most of his 13-year professional career.

The southpaw reliever was still adjusting to the news when reporters approached him in the locker room before Friday's exhibition game against the Giants.

"We have such a ... well, they have such a good staff," Blackley said. "I shouldn't say 'we' anymore. They have such a good staff, and it's so deep up and down, from the starting rotation through the bullpen, that I knew it was going to be tough. Day 1 of camp, you size up everyone in the room and you know it's going to be tough."

After posting a 15.43 ERA in 11 2/3 innings of spring work, the writing was on the wall.

"You've got to be making a lot of money to get away with the spring I had," Blackley said.

Without Blackley and Norberto, A's camp now features southpaws Jerry Blevins, Sean Doolittle, Pedro Figueroa and non-roster invitee Hideki Okajima. Fellow non-roster invitee Mike Ekstrom and Evan Scribner appear to be in competition with Figueroa and Okajima for the final spot in the Oakland bullpen.

While Barton declined to speak to reporters after learning of the roster move, Blackley was eager to thank the organization and its fans for supporting him since he latched on as a long-relief man and spot starter in 2012. Blackley also said he got to know Otero when the two were teammates with San Francisco's Triple-A affiliate in Fresno last year.

"I feel like the A's are kind of imprinted on my DNA now," Blackley said. "I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Oakland."