Programming note: A’s-Angels coverage starts today at 12:30 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
OAKLAND -– Adam Dunn joins the A’s for a 28-day sprint to the finish line, hoping to experience the postseason for the first time in his major league career.
The veteran slugger, acquired from the Chicago White Sox on Sunday for minor league pitcher Nolan Sanburn, is hitting cleanup in his Oakland debut Monday against the Seattle Mariners.
“It’s what you play for,” the 34-year-old Dunn said before Monday’s series opener. “To be able to come from a team that’s rebuilding to a team that’s fighting for something important , it can definitely rejuvenate somebody.”
[RELATED: A's trade for Adam Dunn]
Dunn has racked up 460 career home runs in his 14-year career, third among active players and 36th all time, but he’s never appeared in a playoff game during stints with the Cincinnati Reds, Arizona Diamondbacks, Washington Nationals and the White Sox.
He joins a team that is licking its wounds following a four-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels, which has dropped the A’s five games back in the American League West race.
The main culprit during a 12-17 August was an offense that hit just .223 and averaged 3.5 runs per game. Dunn is hitting just .220 with 20 homers and 54 RBI. He draws a lot of walks but has also struck out more times -- 2,352 – than all but two hitters in major league history (Reggie Jackson and Jim Thome).
But his credentials, and the threat he provides in the left-hand batter’s box, is sorely needed by the A’s. Middle-of-the-order hitters such as Brandon Moss (.169, no homers in August ) and Derek Norris (.202 in August) have looked like a shell of their first-half selves at the plate.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said he’s looking for Dunn “to just go out there and do his thing. He’s a guy that can change the game with one swing. We’ll hit him in the middle of the lineup. He’s a guy, obviously, who has a lot of of power, walks, gets on base. He lengthens our lineup some and probably takes some pressure off guys.”
In other news, the A’s activated shortstop Jed Lowrie from the disabled list, and he’s in the lineup against the Mariners. He went 2-for-9 in a two-game rehab stint with Triple-A Sacramento and says his fractured right index finger has healed well enough for him to get back on the field for Oakland.
Is his throwing back to 100 percent?
“It’s much better,” Lowrie said. “I can make the throws that I need to make.”