PHOENIX — The Oakland Athletics don't know quite where to put shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima in the lineup.
He must have a none-too-favorable impression of the seventh spot after batting there Saturday during the Athletics' 6-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
He was hit in the left elbow in his first trip. Then he was hit by a pitch on his left arm in his second trip.
"In Japan I would get hit 14, 15 times a year," he said through an interpreter. "But for it to be in spring training is very unusual. I'm fine, though."
He rebounded from the double dose of pain to steal second base in the fourth inning and scored the A's fourth run on a single by Eric Sogard.
In earlier Cactus League play, Nakajima had batted second twice and sixth twice. In Japan, he began his career batting seventh but worked himself up to be the No. 3 hitter for Seibu.
"In terms of being here in the U.S.," said Nakajima, who also struck out Saturday. "I have no definite opinion of where I want to hit, just as long as I can contribute."
Before the game, manager Bob Melvin said Nakajima could move around the lineup to see where he best fits with the rest of the moving pieces.
"We'll move Hiro through spots in the lineup," Melvin said. "I'm not sure what type of hitter he is yet. Is he a hit-and-run type? Is he someone who can drive in runs?"
In the first instance, Nakajima would best bat second. In the second case, hitting sixth or seventh might be preferred.
"We got a lot of production from the guys hitting after the middle of the order," Melvin said. "Our 3-4-5 guys got on base a lot, and (Nakajima) might fit in batting behind them."
While not considered a classic RBI producer, Nakajima drove in 100 runs for Seibu two years ago and reached at least 90 RBIs in three of the past four years while playing the shorter Japanese schedule.
Melvin and hitting coach Chili Davis were delighted with Nakajima's batting practice in the morning, when he began putting loft on the ball and pulled several home runs.
"Early in camp he wasn't trying to do that," Melvin said. "But you'll see veterans as the camp gets going will be able to get the bat head on the ball more."
Nakajima said he was "trying to hit the inside pitch in the air today."
Travis Blackley was feeling a little better Saturday, a day after facing eight Giants hitters and allowing seven to reach base. All seven scored.
"That hurt," Blackley said. "I'm too competitive for it not to hurt, spring training or not."
And it happened against the Giants, who put him on waivers last May. The A's claimed him and were rewarded when he went 6-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 24 games, including 15 starts.
He pitched Game 161 on Oct. 2, beating the Texas Rangers 3-1. The A's won the AL West title the next day.
Performances like that one will have much more resonance with the A's than Friday's.
"What I keep telling myself," Blackley said, "is that I go out next time and get a 1-2-3 inning and everything will be OK again. I can't wait to get out there."