OAKLAND -- The A’s this morning placed infielder Nick Punto on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring and recalled first baseman Nate Freiman from Triple-A Sacramento. Punto injured himself rounding third base in the A’s win on Saturday and manager Bob Melvin said it looks like Punto will need the entire DL stint to recover.
"It’s going to be every bit of two weeks, maybe a little longer is my guess," Melvin said. "He got it pretty good."
Melvin said the A’s opted to go with Freiman rather than another middle infielder, such as Andy Parrino, for match-up purposes against left-handers. It leaves the A’s a bit thin up the middle, but Alberto Callaspo will likely fill in for Punto starting at second base against right-handers and Eric Sogard can back up at shortstop in a pinch.
Callaspo is at second today against Royals right-hander James Shields. Here’s the full A’s lineup for the series finale against Kansas City:
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And the Royals’ lineup against A’s left-hander Scott Kazmir:
* Coco Crisp (neck) is scheduled to hit in the cage today after several days without any baseball activities. If all goes well, the A’s could have Crisp back on the field soon. As Melvin reiterated, usually when Crisp "starts doing some baseball activity, he tends to respond pretty quickly." Crisp has missed the last six games.
* Kyle Blanks (calf) is scheduled to run bases Wednesday, the last major box for him to check off before playing in rehab games. Melvin said the A’s want Blanks to run bases Wednesday and Friday, after which he could start a rehab assignment barring a setback.
* Maybe it’s because it’s an early game, or because it’s a little overcast and chilly, or the fact that Friday and Saturday were so busy with the arrival of the A’s trade acquisitions and the debut of Jon Lester yesterday. But there’s a much more normal -- even relaxed -- feeling at the Coliseum today, which dovetails with something Melvin said about the A’s 8-3 win Saturday.
Lester threw 6 2/3 innings in his debut, Jonny Gomes contributed a pair of hits in the A’s eight-run fifth inning and fellow newcomer Sam Fuld made a highlight-reel throw to the plate from center to cut down a runner. Melvin said having all three of the new players be "a big part" of the win probably helped everybody settle down after the deadline activity.
"You can just kind of move past the trade," Melvin said, "and realize all three of these guys are important to us, and will be down the stretch."
* Kazmir will try to pick up in August where he left off in July. In four starts last month, the left-hander went 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 26 innings. One thing that might help -- Kazmir has been excellent in day games this season, going 5-0 with a 1.05 ERA in seven starts, the lowest ERA among major-league starters.