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 Oakland Athletics. 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 as a rookie in 2011.
There was no reason to think he would backpedal. But last Aug. 21, when he was hitting .220, 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.
For Weeks, it’s a matter of returning to what made him successful in the first place: working hard every day year around.
His older brother, Milwaukee Brewers infielder Rickie Weeks, is also convinced Jemile will return to prominence.
“He’s an All-Star second baseman,” the elder Weeks said. “I know that for a fact.”
After his sensational rookie season, in which he led all major league rookies in batting average and triples, he got off his routine, perhaps resting on his laurels just enough to offset the things he accomplished the previous season.
“Everybody goes through streaks like this,” Weeks said. “I came into last season feeling good and then I got out of my routine.”
Clearing the bases
Albert Pujols is nearly ready to start running on the field in the Los Angeles Angels slugger’s deliberate recovery from offseason surgery on his right knee. Pujols is taking batting practice and running on a treadmill at spring training, and he participated in fielding drills Tuesday. … New Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona has named Justin Masterson his starter for opening day in Toronto.