PHOENIX—Miles Head hadn't played third base since his pro debut in the Red Sox system in 2009, but that didn't stop the Athletics from thinking creatively.
Oakland shifted Head, 20, from first base back to the hot corner after acquiring him in the December deal that sent closer Andrew Bailey to Boston.
"I was a little rusty at first, but it's like riding a bike—you get it back," Head said after spending time during the A's spring mini-camp working with coach Juan Navarrete to make the transition.
Both Navarrete and farm director Keith Lieppman believe Head has the potential to stay on the left side of the infield.
"He has good hands . . . (and) enough arm to stay there," Lieppman said.
That could be important for the A's, who have struggled to find a capable third baseman the last few years.
Head began 2011 with low Class A Greenville and batted a loud .338/.409/.612 with 15 homers in half a season. The righthanded hitter earned a promotion to high Class A Salem, where he hit .254/.328/.405 with seven homers in 232 at-bats.
"He's got a chance to put up numbers," Lieppman said. "From what we've seen so far, he should be able to hit for average and power. He goes to all fields and looks like he's got a really good idea of what he's doing.
"He's very instinctual with the bat. I'm very impressed with his ability to barrel balls up. He's ahead of his time as far as knowledge."
Head passed on a scholarship to Georgia to sign with the Red Sox for $335,000 as their 26th-round pick in 2009. He said he wanted the fastest route to professional baseball coming out of high school in Fayetteville, Ga.
Head knows he has much to learn over the next few years, citing consistency and improving his mental game. The A's are also intent that their new 6-foot, 215-pound third baseman improve his conditioning.
• A 14th-round pick from Stetson last year, catcher Nick Rickles made an impression this spring by working with veteran pitchers and playing in Triple-A games.
• The A's claimed 26-year-old shortstop Brandon Hicks on waivers from the Braves and assigned him to minor league camp. He batted .252/.333/.446 in 361 at-bats in Triple-A last season.