“It’s not progressing the way I thought it would,” he said Saturday night. “It was sore after I played in the two games and a bit tight during the games. I’m pretty bummed out about it.”
Willingham, who was placed on the 15-day DL June 23 retroactive to June 18, isn’t sure when he’ll be able to return because he thought he’d be ready by now.
“Hopefully before the All-Star break sometime, but if I need more time, I guess I’ll take it,” he said, adding that he believed if he rests through the break, he’ll almost certainly be ready coming out of it.
Willingham didn’t even play in the outfield in his two rehab starts, getting all of his at-bats as a designated hitter. He was 1-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs.
Once his injury is healed, he believes he can get back in the swing of it quickly because he can continue to take batting practice.
“It only affects me when I’m running, not when I’m hitting,” he said. “I’ll just try to stay sharp in that area and try to get better running.”
One of the players adversely affected by the A’s managerial change has been outfielder David DeJesus. In the first 16 games under Bob Melvin, DeJesus did not play at all and in four other games was limited to pinch-hitting or pinch-running duties.
Not coincidentally, DeJesus languished through one of the worst offensive months of his career during June. He hit just .148 (8-for-54) and not only didn’t hit a home run, he didn’t drive in a single run. He had just one extra-base hit, a double on the first day of the month.
But Melvin has recommitted to DeJesus by starting him , banking that his offensive track record can provide additional punch to Oakland’s anemic lineup.
“In a situation like we are offensively, you need a guy like that to be productive,” Melvin said. “So it’s my job to give him some time and consistent at-bats to work through it.”
DeJesus made his fifth straight start after collecting two hits in consecutive games. Heading into tonight’s game, he has reached base in seven consecutive plate appearances (four hits, three walks).
“I would certainly like him to continue this type of thing where I didn’t have to worry about right field, that’s his spot,” the manager said.
OAK: 2B Weeks, 3B Sizemore, CF Crisp, DH Matsui, 1B Carter, LF Jackson, C Suzuki, RF DeJesus, SS Rosales. P Outman
AZ: SS Bloomquist, 2B Johnson, RF Upton, CF Young, DH Pena, C Montero, 1B Nady, 3B Roberts, LF Parra. P Saunders