At the expense of Dan Johnson, Erubial Durazo has won spring playing time at first base for the Athletics. It's not that manager Bob Geren has given up on Johnson, but he needs to know just exactly what Durazo can do after a year's layoff due to injury.
Durazo, 32, fighting for a reserve spot, is defensively challenged, but is outplaying Johnson, 27, at the plate, hitting .346 with a .538 slugging average. Johnson, meanwhile, is struggling to remain above the Mendoza Line.
A non-roster invitee, Durazo must continue his strong bid if he is to make the team. He cleared the first cuts, but still has a ways to go. Working in his favor is the fact that the team is somewhat shallow at first base, and the highly regarded Johnson has yet to prove he can hold down the job.