San Francisco Giants

A's pre-game notes: Two sluggers off to slow starts

OAKLAND -- A pair of hitters the A’s hope to rely on this season are off to slow starts, with Josh Donaldson hitless in his last 18 at-bats -- a career-long stretch -- and Josh Reddick just 2-for-20 to start the year.

Reddick, who has eight strikeouts in his 20 at-bats, is not in the lineup today against Seattle Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, with Sam Fuld instead getting the start in right field. Manager Bob Melvin said that’s in part to keep Fuld, who is 3-for-9 with two triples on the year, active with Fuld having "swung the bat well in his recent at-bats."

Donaldson, meanwhile, is still looking for his first RBI of the season, but Melvin said he isn’t too concerned about the third baseman. He cited Donaldson hitting some balls hard with nothing to show for it, and an at-bat in Saturday’s game in which Donaldson hit a line drive the opposite way that was caught.

"When you get off to a slow start, whether it’s he or Reddick, sometimes you try to do a little bit too much," Melvin said. "You’re a guy the team relies on offensively and you get a little frustrated. But he’ll get back going.

"I think (Donaldson’s) last at-bat yesterday is a little more indicative of how he takes an at-bat. Sometimes you get a little too pull-conscious, where he’s a guy that can and needs to use the whole field."

Here’s the full A’s lineup today against Ramirez:

CF Crisp

3B Donaldson

SS Lowrie

DH Moss

LF Cespedes

C Jaso

RF Fuld

1B Barton

2B Sogard

And the Mariners’ lineup against Sonny Gray:

CF Almonte

SS Miller

2B Cano

1B Smoak

DH Morrison

3B Seager

LF Ackley

RF Saunders

C Zunino

* Reliever Ryan Cook was in the clubhouse this morning after throwing in a rehab game with Single-A Stockton on Saturday night. Cook pitched 2/3 of an inning and allowed two runs, two hits and two walks. But he said today he "felt really good actually" and his command wasn’t as bad as the line would suggest.

"A the end of the day I came out of there feeling like I’m ready to go," Cook said. "Arm feels healthy, I feel great. Got that one out of the system, hopefully, so now it’s time to go, as far as I know."

Melvin said Cook will be activated at some point on the upcoming road trip, but didn’t specify which day. The A’s leave for Minnesota after today’s game, where they’ll play tomorrow, be off Tuesday and then have games Wednesday and Thursday.

* Outfielder Craig Gentry also played for Stockton on Saturday and went 2-for-4 with a double. Melvin said Gentry will play in at least one more rehab game, possibly two, before he’s ready to be activated from the DL.

Cook said Gentry singled to right-center in his first at-bat. "(I was) like, it’s that easy, huh?" Cook said. "(Then he) got caught stealing. I don’t know what happened there. But no, he looks good."

* Right-hander A.J. Griffin (right flexor strain) is due to start a strengthening program for his right elbow soon, Melvin said. Griffin has been resting the elbow and doing cardio to stay in shape, and admitted this morning he’s getting a little restless -- "battling the boredom," he called it.

Melvin said it’ll likely still be a week or two before Griffin starts throwing again. He’ll stay behind in Oakland while the team is on the road.

* Tommy Milone, who had his rotation turn skipped after the faux-rainout Friday, will pitch in a camp game with extended spring training players today in Arizona, Melvin said. It’s been a while since Milone pitched in a game -- before this rotation shake-up, his last scheduled spring outing in the final game of the Bay Bridge exhibition series was also rained out.

"I think it’ll be good for him to face some hitters," Melvin said. "He’ll be that much more ready for his next game on Friday."

* Overall, the A’s have had a tough time getting into a normal rhythm during this first week of the season. They’ve had two games postponed by rainy conditions, played a spilt doubleheader and haven’t had many opportunities to do typical pre-game work like take batting practice on the field. They were going to do so this morning -- out of the ordinary for a Sunday day game -- but it was Little League Day at the Coliseum, so thousands of kids and parents parading around the perimeter of the field made that impossible.

As a result, Melvin said the A’s will likely do on-field batting practice several times in Minnesota, despite the fact all three games are day games.