Programming note: Yankees-A’s coverage starts today at 12:30 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
OAKLAND – Trying to ease some pressure off his best hitter, A’s manager Bob Melvin dropped Josh Donaldson from third to sixth in the batting order for Sunday’s game against the New York Yankees.
Donaldson is mired in an 0-for-31 slump and was ejected from Saturday night’s game for arguing with home plate umpire Hal Gibson. Donaldson said this morning that he didn’t feel he did anything to warrant an ejection.
“I just asked him a question. It was a normal question,” he said.
He offered very little about how he’s feeling at the plate or about dropping down to sixth in the order, smiling and offering a “What do you expect me to say about this?” expression to questions about his offensive struggles.
Melvin said he’s simply trying to give Donaldson a “change of scenery,” as the third baseman hasn’t gotten a hit since the series opener in Baltimore nine days ago.
“He hits 2, 3 and 4 for us, and it won’t be long before he’s back,” Melvin said Sunday morning. “It’s hard to go through that. Maybe to the naked eye, you see a pretty stoic guy. But it’s hard to go through that, especially when he’s a guy we count on to be productive for us. We also have other guys around him to pick up the load as well.”
In other news, right fielder Josh Reddick (hyperextended right knee) will likely begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday, Melvin said. Reddick has been running and taking batting practice.
Considering that Reddick was hitting just .214 when he joined the disabled list June 3, Melvin said he wants the rehab assignment to double as a chance for Reddick to find his batting stroke. So it sounds as if Reddick will be with the River Cats for more than a game or two.
“I want him feeling good when he comes back here,” Melvin said. “A lot of times you go, play a few games, go 0 for 9 or 10 and go back in the lineup and you don’t feel great. That’s not what we want. And he feels the same way. He wants to feel good at the plate. We wanna get him back as soon as possible, but we also want him back when he’s feeling good at the plate.”
Reliever Eric O’Flaherty, inching closer to a return from Tommy John surgery, will make his second rehab appearance for Sacramento today. He’s thrown one scoreless inning for the River Cats, and Melvin said the lefty will probably stay with Sacramento for “a while” to continue to work back into major league form.