Well, the A’s certainly don’t have the look of a team that’s lost five in a row. As a group, they seemed particularly chatty and in good spirits before batting practice today. I’ve got to think that hopping on a plane and getting a change of scenery was a good thing after getting swept by the Yankees. A fresh start was definitely needed. And the A’s couldn’t ask for a better pitching staff for their struggling hitters to face. Minnesota’s 5.47 ERA is the worst in the major leagues. But the Twins are throwing lefty Scott Diamond (great name) today, and he’s 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA.
–Bob Melvin estimated chances at 50-50 that Manny Ramirez joins the A’s on Wednesday, when his 50-game suspension ends. Ramirez has not looked great at the plate for Triple-A Sacramento, so the A’s must decide if it’s better to give him a few more games in the minors to groove his swing, or get him to the big leagues immediately to help this woeful offense. “If guys were swinging the bats consistently across the board, you’d like to see him get some more at-bats, drive some balls,” Melvin said. “But where we are right now, he could be an option for Wednesday.”
With Friday being the potential target date for Yoenis Cespedes to come off the DL, the A’s could just bring Ramirez and Cespedes back on the same day for the series opener at Kansas City. That could be quite the psychological boost for the team. Here’s what we know: If Ramirez plays in Tuesday night’s game in Sacramento, it will be near impossible to get him to Minneapolis in time for Wednesday’s matinee, with first pitch at 12:10 p.m. local time. Melvin wasn’t sure if Ramirez would play for the River Cats on Tuesday or not.
–With Anthony Recker being optioned to clear roster room for Brandon Inge, Josh Donaldson takes over as the backup catcher. Melvin said he’ll use Donaldson just like a true backup and give him an occasional start to spell Kurt Suzuki. He said Donaldson could also see time at third base and first base. “I think the intriguing one might be first base, since we only have left-handed hitting first basemen here right now,” Melvin said. “Rosie (Adam Rosales) can do that as well, but maybe that’s another way to get (Donaldson) at-bats vs. left-handed pitching.”
Considering Donaldson started the past 14 games at third and hit .180, I don’t see a rush to wedge him into the batting order anywhere right now …
The lineups, with Inge making his return at third for Oakland:
A’s – Weeks 2B, Crisp CF, Reddick RF, Gomes DH, Inge 3B, Suzuki C, Ka’aihue 1B, Cowgill LF, Rosales SS; Blackley LHP.
Twins – Span CF, Mastroianni RF, Mauer C, Willingham LF, Morneau 1B, Doumit DH, Dozier SS, Plouffe 3B, Casilla 2B; Diamond LHP.