PHOENIX -- Shortstop Addison Russell never had a chance of breaking camp with the Oakland A's, but he had an excellent shot at being with the club for the entirety of spring training.

Then he was slowed last week by a hamstring injury, and on Sunday morning he was one of five players sent to the A's minor league camp, joining pitchers Darwin Perez, Matt Buschmann, Deryk Hooker and Philip Humber.

Before he left camp, Russell dressed and went onto the back field at Phoenix Municipal Stadium and had a full round in the batting cage with batting coach Chili Davis.

A former first-round draft pick, Russell was hitting .280 at the time of the injury and playing solid defense when getting the chance.

"If it hadn't been for the injury, we probably would have taken him to the end (of the spring camp),'' manager Bob Melvin said, adding that he wanted to get Russell the experience of playing in front of big crowds when the A's and Giants returned to the Bay Area for three games before the season opener on March 31 against the Cleveland Indians.

Because the 20-year-old still has only played three games above Class-A, Russell was going to need 2014 to get experience at Double-A and Triple-A. And if some sort of injury problem were to crop up, Russell is someone the club wouldn't hesitate to promote this year. He's projected to have a chance to be the starter 12 months hence.

Perez reported late to camp because of visa problems getting out of Venezuela, then almost immediately had some shoulder pain, so he didn't pitch in a game, Melvin said Humber, who threw a perfect game in 2011 while with the White Sox is someone who simply needs to get his game together.

"His stuff is all there,'' Melvin said. "He throws 95 (mph). He just needs to get the ball down. And in this camp he had trouble putting hitters away after getting to two strikes. Confidence is going to be the big thing for him.''

For more on the A's, see John Hickey's Inside the A's blog at ibabuzz.com/athletics. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JHickey3.