PHOENIX — Jemile Weeks refuses to point fingers or make excuses. The face responsible for his sub-par sophomore season is the one he sees in the mirror every morning.
The second baseman is now trying to regain his starting role with the A’s. There are plenty of candidates in the infield.
Scott Sizemore returns after tearing his left knee last spring and missing the year. Jed Lowrie was obtained in a trade with the Houston Astros and the A’s signed Japanese veteran Hiroyuki Nakajimi.
There also are veteran backups Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard.
Weeks, who led off for the A’s in Saturday’s spring opener at the Milwaukee Brewers, embraces the competition.
“It’s my job to show them I’m no different than I have been in the past,” Weeks said. “There is a sense of having to prove it to people if they doubt.”
He was Oakland’s first-round pick in 2008, reached the majors ahead of schedule and hit .303 in 97 games as a rookie in 2011.
There was no reason to think he would backpedal. But last Aug. 21, when he was hitting .220 with two homers and 20 RBIs, he was sent to Triple-A Sacramento.
That prompted A’s GM Billy Beane to make some moves during the offseason that has produced some stiff competition this spring.
“You put guys into situations to see what they can do,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “You take into consideration a guy who has a track record but guys know they’re in competition.”
Weeks isn’t going to blame the sophomore jinx, how pitchers adjusted to him or anybody affiliated with the A’s. He took full responsibility.
“Sure pitchers threw me differently but I have to go back to getting out of my routine,” Weeks said. “Those were the same pitchers I faced as when I broke in. It was my results which were different. You realize this game is not easy and you have to keep working hard to be good. There’s really no other substitute for that.”
NOTES: A’s starter A.J. Griffin was sharp in his spring debut. The right-hander, who came up from the minors to go 7-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 15 starts and help the A’s win the AL West last season, gave up one hit and struck out three in two scoreless innings of Oakland’s 9-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. ... A’s catcher Derek Norris hit a solo home run off Arizona’s David Hernandez. ... Former A’s infielder Cliff Pennington went 2-for-2 with a two-run homer against his former club in leading the Arizona