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Keeping Donaldson healthy allows A’s to take deep breath

Josh Donaldson's ability to shake off knee injury Friday was a major plus for A's.

Josh Donaldson’s ability to shake off knee injury Friday was a major plus for A’s.

The key playoff Friday’s 6-2 win over Texas for the A’s was a foul ball that didn’t impact the scoring at all.

It did impact third baseman Josh Donaldson, who drove his already-ailing left knee in to the ground in foul territory in pursuit of the Elvis Andrus grounder.

For a few minutes it seemed like Donaldson was hurt badly enough to come out of the game, and the last two games of the season would have been up in the air.

Win or lose the game, the A’s would unquestionably have been sunk if Donaldson was hurt badly enough to come out. He wasn’t and for that the A’s can only be thankful.

“I think everyone was holding their breath right there,’’ pitcher Scott Kazmir said. “He’s a huge part of what we have.’’

  Right fielder Josh Reddick made it clear that the importance of Donaldson to the Oakland lineup can’t be minimized.

“We all know he’s been dealing with a knee injury, and from personal experience I know how bad that can be,’’ Reddick said. “I didn’t think he’d come back and be in it and do what he did to come up with a big base hit later and get that rally going.

“It goes to show how big these games really are. And it shows how tough he really is.’’

Manager Bob Melvin said Donaldson wouldn’t have let him take him out of the game.

“Obviously he means a lot to us,’’ the manager said. “A big relief that he stayed in. As tough as he is, to react like that, you’re thinking, `Oh, no.’ ’’

The Mariners told Donaldson not to run hard the rest of the day, and he didn’t. The question now is whether or not he’ll be able to play Saturday and Sunday.

“I’ll come out and get some treatment and see how it goes,’’ Donaldson said. “I want to play.’’

And since he leads the A’s in homers (28) and RBIs (97), the A’s need him in there.

John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.