GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- When Jake Elmore first stepped on a baseball field, his Little League coach told the team, "Go pick your position." Elmore ran to first base.
Before long, he moved to catcher, then shortstop. In high school, he started in the outfield, before going back behind the plate again. His college career began in center field. But he returned to shortstop soon enough and, eventually, a move to second base followed.
In the Minors, he played everywhere but center field.
"So, yeah, I've never really stuck to one," Elmore said, smiling.
That's what made him so attractive to the A's, a versatile bunch who grabbed Elmore through a trade with the White Sox in late February. Since then, Elmore is 12-for-39 (.308) with a .400 on-base percentage in 18 spring games and has also sported a slick glove at third base and the middle-infield positions.
He'll begin the season at Triple-A Sacramento, providing the A's a quality piece of infield depth.
"He fits right in here as far as his versatility goes," said manager Bob Melvin. "He plays all of the infield positions plus for me. He looks just as comfortable in all those positions and gives you a tough at-bat. We've been giving him a lot of games, a lot of reps here, and he's impressed us.
"As far as depth goes, he's a guy that really gives you the potential to really play any one of those positions. And if he were to be here, could fill in at any of those positions, so he's been a nice pickup for us."
"I feel like everybody kind of has a role here, yet those roles constantly change for some guys, and that's the mold I fit," said Elmore, who played all nine positions in just 52 games for the Astros last year. "The word around the league is that the A's like versatile guys. Being able to play the three different positions, that was the biggest thing I wanted to show them, that I could handle third and short and second."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.