Ben Zobrist had one of his best offensive games since returning from knee surgery Wednesday night, with three hits and three RBIs, and has been a catalyst for the A’s offense during their four-game winning streak. Zobrist has scored 10 runs in the last four games while going 8-for-14 with four walks.
It’s an indication Zobrist is feeling normal again following the arthroscopic procedure on his knee in late April -- but the A’s still want to make sure they’re not taxing Zobrist too much. For that reason, he’s out of the lineup Thursday against the Padres, although A’s manager Bob Melvin conceded that was a difficult decision.
"We’ve run him out there nine (games) in a row," Melvin said. "So yeah, whenever a guy is swinging good it’s tough to take him out of the lineup. But we have to be cognizant of the fact he did have surgery not too long ago, and we have to keep him healthy."
Zobrist’s three hits in the A’s 16-2 blowout win Wednesday included a double and triple, both of which he legged out easily. He joked afterward that he has probably run the bases more during the past four games than in the previous 2 ½ months of the season, but that’s a sign the A’s offense is staying active.
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Melvin said he hopes the scoring outburst of Wednesday night would stay "contagious."
"There’s no certainty that there’s any carryover," Melvin said. "But at least for one night, it’s a good feeling … It’s been a better feeling here recently for us. We’re trying to find any way we can to build some momentum and string some wins together."
The A’s lineup today against San Diego right-hander Ian Kennedy as they try to sweep all four games against the Padres:
And the Padres’ lineup against A’s right-hander Kendall Graveman:
CF Upton Jr.
* Ike Davis went 1-for-5 with two RBIs in a rehab game with Triple-A Nashville on Wednesday. It was his third day playing in a row, and it sounds like Davis should be rejoining the A’s in the next couple of days.
Melvin didn’t answer directly when asked if Davis, who’s coming back from a strained quad, could be activated as early as Friday, but said: "We could see him pretty soon."
* Melvin said he did a double-take when he saw the Padres lineup with Derek Norris, the former A’s catcher, at first base today. Norris did play one inning at first while with the A’s -- Melvin said he remembered the game.
Norris got a nice round of applause from the Coliseum crowd Wednesday when he came up to bat in his first game back since being traded over the offseason. Melvin said he was not surprised to hear it.
"They’re going to applaud somebody who’s had success here," Melvin said. "We went to the postseason three years in a row with Derek Norris. Here. So it doesn’t surprise me at all that they thanked him for that."
* Melvin’s reaction when Billy Butler had not one, but two infield singles Wednesday?
"Surprise. I think even he was surprised."