A's notes: Playing it safe with Cespedes, Donaldson injuries

A's notes: Playing it safe with Cespedes, Donaldson injuries
June 15, 2013, 3:00 pm
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With both Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup, the A's are 27-8, but just 14-20 without them. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

OAKLAND -- Yoenis Cespedes, who missed two-plus games this week with a strained left hamstring, is back in the A's starting lineup as the designated hitter for the second day in a row and will bat third.

He is joined by leadoff-hitting center fielder Coco Crisp, who sat out Friday night's series opener against Seattle with a sore right heel, and third baseman Josh Donaldson, who also missed Fridays game with a sore right hamstring.

A's manager Bob Melvin said the decision to D.H. Cespedes is to keep the every day left fielder off his feet, so to speak, and he can keep loose by riding the stationary bike in the home clubhouse when he's not preparing to bat.

[RELATED: Cespedes feeling better]

The A's appear to have caught the hamstring tweaks early enough that they did not become serious issues.

"Otherwise, you're flirting with a danger zone," said Donaldson, who has only missed two games all season.

Melvin, though, gave Josh Reddick the day off. The right fielder has played every game but one since being reinstated from the disabled list on May 31, batting .260 to raise his season average from .152 to .190. Against Seattle starter Felix Hernandez, Reddick is batting .160 in 25 career at-bats.

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With both Crisp and Cespedes in the lineup, the A's are 27-8, but just 14-20 without them.

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Seth Smith has the best numbers against Hernandez in the A's in the starting lineup, batting .375 (six for 16) with a walk and four strikeouts. Crisp has faced Hernandez the most, going 10-52 (.192) while Jed Lowrie is just 1-12.

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Today marks the start of a stretch in which the A's are projected to face 16 straight right-handed starters. And it doesn't get much more daunting than Hernandez.

"You always like to measure yourself against the best," said Donaldson, who is 2-8 against Hernandez and riding an overall streak of 1-17 in his last four games, 6-29 in his last six to drop his average from a season high of .332 on June 5 to .310 today.

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Melvin, on facing Hernandez: "We've got a pretty good guy (A.J. Griffin) on our side, too. You don't always have to beat the starter."

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Technically, the 4:15 first-pitch start time makes this a day game. Games starting after 5 p.m. local time are considered night games.

Why does it matter? The A's are 29-14 under the lights, an MLB-best .683 winning percentage, but just 12-14 during the day, a .462 mark that is the third-worst in the American League. And Oakland's night-time ERA of 3.27 is the best in the A.L., while the A's day ERA is 4.23.