OAKLAND -- Adam Dunn has all of 52 at-bats this season against left-handed pitching, and normally under the A’s platoon system, the left-handed-hitting Dunn would not be in the lineup tonight against Houston Astros lefty Brett Oberholtzer.
But such is the state of the A’s offense right now that Dunn is in the lineup, batting sixth as designated hitter. In three games with the A’s, Dunn is 4-for-8 with two home runs and four RBIs, and even though that’s a small sample size, the A’s at the moment can’t afford to bench a productive hitter.
"We do have some guys who are still struggling a little bit offensively, but this is the time we need to come out of it some, and having him in the lineup today gets another guy in there who’s swinging the bat well," Melvin said, "even though it’s against some of the fundamental things that we do."
Melvin pointed that Dunn does out have a home run against Oberholtzer in his career, his one hit in three at-bats. So it’s Dunn as the lone left-hander in the A’s lineup, which also benefits tonight from the return of Coco Crisp. Crisp hasn’t played since Aug. 29 due to a neck strain, but Melvin said he’s "good enough to be in the lineup" tonight, leading off.
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The full A’s lineup against Oberholtzer:
And the Astros’ lineup against A’s right-hander Jeff Samardzija:
* Some injury updates: First, Sean Doolittle (strained intercostal muscle) played long toss again today and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session off flat ground Saturday. Melvin said Doolittle would likely have to throw one or two bullpen sessions off a mound before the A’s would consider activating him, but it’s a step forward.
Stephen Vogt (sprained left ankle) is going to be out for "a little bit," Melvin said. Vogt’s ankle, which he injured sliding into second base to break up a double play Wednesday, has swelled up since then and will keep Vogt from doing any baseball activities at least through this weekend.
Nick Punto (hamstring) and John Jaso (concussion) were both scheduled to run today -- Punto sprints and Jaso running bases. Melvin said that if Jaso can run the bases without any negative effects, "then maybe we’re on a path to activate him as far as pinch-hitting or DHing."
* One benefit of having Dunn at DH tonight -- it allows for another day off for Brandon Moss, who’s still trying to work his way out of his hitting struggles. Moss is 5-for-44 in his last 16 games and hasn’t homered since July 24, a span of 33 games.
"He wants to be there every day," Melvin said. "But sometimes if you’re struggling some, having a little bit of a mental break can help.
"He just missed a pitch the other day off Felix (Hernandez), hit a ball well pinch-hitting the (night before) for a double," Melvin added. "So I think we’re starting to see some good signs from him as far as swinging the bat."
* Samardzija is coming off his second complete game of the season -- both with the A’s and both losses. He allowed two runs (one earned) in eight innings in Los Angeles his last time out, but took the loss as the A’s fell 2-0.