With Daric Barton now eligible to come off the disabled list, the Athletics' picture at first base might change quickly.
Brandon Allen and Kila Ka'aihue spent the spring battling to win the spot outright, but neither did so definitively. Allen opened the season 0-for-7 with five strikeouts. Ka'aihue is 3-for-8, but he has no extra-base hits.
The A's had hoped someone would grab hold of the job and nail it down, but considering the mixed results from Allen and Ka'aihue, Barton is more than likely to get the next shot at the spot.
Barton is 7-for-19 (.368) through four games at Class AAA Sacramento, where he has been on a rehab assignment, and he hit a grand slam Sunday. He is working his way back from right shoulder surgery performed last August. Barton believes his shoulder injury contributed to his poor 2011 season, both at the plate and in the field.
Barton's return would mean the team has little power at the corner infield spots again. He hit no homers in 234 at-bats at first base last year, becoming the first big-league first baseman to have that many at-bats with a home run since 1984, when Al Oliver (396) and Pete Rose (237) both did it.
Barton has a career-high 69-game homerless streak going. The A's third basemen, Josh Donaldson and Eric Sogard, have a total of three big-league homers between them, though Donaldson hit 35 homers at Sacramento over the past two seasons.