A's notes: Gray's nebulous role clarified, Cespedes' lumber, etc.

Can the A's maintain their lead over Texas?

A's notes: Gray's nebulous role clarified, Cespedes' lumber, etc.
July 13, 2013, 5:45 pm
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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."

Got it?

***

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.

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