Can the A's maintain their lead over Texas?
Sonny Gray has pitched two innings for the A's this season with three strikeouts. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- The day before, A's manager Bob Melvin insisted he would use rookie right-hander Sonny Gray in any situation.
So does that mean Gray's going to suddenly show up and close out a game in place of Grant Balfour? Or start Sunday's first-half finale against Boston to allow Bartolo Colon to pitch in Tuesday's All-Star Game in New York? Um, no. Melvin, then, with some clarity on Gray's nebulous role…
"If I use him late in a game, I'm not going to use him instead of somebody," Melvin said Saturday. "But if we're in an extra-inning game and it's tied, I'm not afraid to use him. If we're ahead and the starter comes out in the sixth, I'm not afraid to use him.
"So, for a little bit more clarity, it's not like I would use him to replace somebody that's already pitching in a role that they're doing well in."
Melvin said he has not heard yet if any of his players -- closer Grant Balfour? -- will be selected as a replacement player for the All-Star game.
"I guess that will happen when it happens, if it happens," Melvin said. "I'm not handicapping that."
Officially, Colon is scheduled to start Sunday, which would make him ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game, which would then make him a prime candidate to start the second half of the A's season atop Oakland's rotation.
But Melvin is not yet ready to announce a post-break rotation.
"We've got to map it out," Melvin said.
The A's begin the second half with a three-game series at the Los Angeles Angels Friday, and rather than hold an off-day workout at the Coliseum on Thursday, Melvin said they will do so in Anaheim on Friday…during extended batting practice.
Yoenis Cespedes, in preparing for Monday's Home Run Derby, put on another show with his 34 1/2-inch, 32-ounce Chandler maple bat Saturday (it's the heaviest on the team).
Besides hitting mammoth homers, he hit one into the 'O' in the overstock.com sign hanging over the left-field fence, replicating the feat of Josh Donaldson earlier this season.
[RELATED: Preparing for HR Derby, Cespedes hits Coliseum's 'O']
Cespedes also took a few tosses from the bullpen mound, for spit and giggles obviously, a day after he took grounders at third base.
Again, spit and giggles.