PHOENIX -- The trade of Chris Carter to the Astros in early February may be ready to pay the A's another dividend.

The A's claimed first baseman Nate Freiman from Houston Saturday morning, potentially filling the club's need for a right-handed power-hitting option at first behind left-handed starter Brandon Moss.

The deal was set up, at least in part, because in acquiring Carter along with signing Carlos Pena, the Astros had no room for a Rule 5 player who under baseball rules would have to be kept on the roster all season or be offered back to his old club, the San Diego Padres.

Houston plans on starting the season with three first basemen in the lineup -- Carter in left field, Pena as the DH and Brett Wallace at first. With that glut, they had no room for Freiman, so they put him on waivers and the A's claimed him.

"Once we traded Chris Carter there, we knew they might have an abundance there once they got him," A's assistant general manager David Forst said, "so we made sure we got a good look at him."

Oakland sent pro scout Mike Ziegler to Florida to watch the 26-year-old Freiman, and his positive recommendation led to the club putting in a claim. They have seven games in which to form a final opinion of whether or not to keep the 6-foot-8, 250-pound Zeigler on the opening day roster.

"He had a great year in Double-A last year," Forst said. "Obviously he has a ton of power. And his splits against left-handed pitching are off the charts."


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That's one way to look at it. Freiman hit .348 against lefties last year and had eight homers in just 112 at-bats. His numbers against right-handers weren't bad -- .285 with 16 homers in 404 at-bats -- but the left-handed numbers fit an A's need.

And to be fair, the Astros liked what they saw of Freiman while he was with them.

"He proved to us that he is what we thought he was," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told the Houston Chronicle. "Whether or not he's ready for the big leagues after being in Double-A, that's anybody's guess. But he did everything that we hoped he would. It's really not a reflection on him. It's a reflection on the fact that we stayed healthy and we have a lot of options."

Manager Bob Melvin said that he'd get Freiman as many at-bats as possible in the next week to better make a good evaluation of the newest A's player.

  • Right fielder Josh Reddick, who sprained his left ankle Friday night, was walking with no noticeable limp Saturday, although he said there is still some soreness.

    "I can feel it, but it's not too bad," Reddick said. "If it had been a game in July, we would have tapped it up and I would have stayed in there. It was one of those things where the wind moved the ball more than I thought it would and I had to reach back for it."

    As the A's have it planned, Reddick will go through a full workout Sunday then get back in the lineup Monday.

  • Lefty starter Tommy Milone had a mostly positive day Saturday, although he wasn't happy with the first inning, when two of the first three men he faced singled, leading to one of the three runs against him.

    "I knew this might be my last start (in Arizona) before the season, and I wanted to be season-ready," Milone said after taking the victory in the A's 12-5 win over San Francisco. "I can confidently say that I am, although you know there are always things you can improve on.

    Milone is down to start against the Giants his next time, too, although it will be in AT&T Park as both teams head north for three games.

  • Shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima had a new twist to his camp, scheduled to get three innings at shortstop and three more at second base. He's the only middle infielder to have only played one position this spring. "We still think of him as a shortstop," manager Bob Melvin said. "But he's the only infielder we have who's only played one position this spring."

  • Eric Sogard's spring just gets better and better. The second base candidate had hits in his first three at-bats, including his first homer, a solo shot to right off Shane Loux. "Obviously I don't make the decisions," Sogard said. "But I've put myself in the best position I could. I hope they find somewhere here where I fit." He is hitting .538 and has a .600 on-base percentage. In his last nine games, Sogard is 15-for-21, .714. Milone said if he were pitching to Sogard, "I wouldn't throw him a strike."

  • Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes and another second base candidate, Adam Rosales, joined Sogard in hitting homers as the A's pounded out 17 hits, five for extra bases, in beating the Giants. Cespedes homer off a former Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum slider was impressive.

  • Catcher John Jaso got a look in the No. 2 spot Saturday. Melvin said he thinks the veteran left-handed hitter has a good swing for hitting behind leadoff man Coco Crisp. He has just four career starts batting second, all of them last year with the Mariners. And he tripled, in the sixth inning. He's faster than most catchers and had two triples last year. "I rely on them not expecting me to run," Jaso said.