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Oakland A's spring training: Nate Freiman out with strained back muscle

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Also, Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir will make their first appearances in games next week, and which Athletics catcher will soon return from the birth of his daughter.

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Oakland Athletics first baseman Nate Freiman is expected to miss the next two weeks of spring training after incurring a strained back muscle, Bob Melvin told reporters this morning (CSN's Joe Stiglich was first to tweet). Freiman, 28, has been used at the major league level as the right-handed hitting side of the first base platoon, though newcomers Mark Canha and Billy Butler are expected to be selected for the opening day roster ahead of Freiman.

In other injury news, Stephen Vogt says he expect to play in games next week, "likely at DH to start," tweets Jane Lee of MLB.com. Vogt is recovering from offseason foot surgery that dealt with an injury that made him unavailable to play anything but first base in the second half of last season. Vogt has been catching bullpen sessions, and appeared in one of the team's intrasquad games last weekend.

Billy Butler returns to Thursday's lineup as the first baseman after missing yesterday's game with a stomach issue.

Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir will start next week

Bob Melvin also told reporters that Sonny Gray will start on Tuesday, March 10 against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Hohokam Stadium (SF Chronicle's Susan Slusser was first to tweet). Scott Kazmir will start on Thursday, March 12 against the Seattle Mariners at Hohokam.

Josh Phegley will return Friday after daughter's birth

Catcher Josh Phegley has been away from the team the last few days to attend his wife as she gave birth to their child. Phegley will play Friday.