TORONTO — Mark Canha is in the lineup for the second consecutive day Sunday, and A’s manager Bob Melvin suggested that Canha could start drawing more starts against right-handers.
It makes sense, given that the right-handed hitting Canha is producing lately more than his .182 batting average might suggest. He’s homered in each of the past two games he’s started — Thursday against the Yankees and Saturday at Toronto — and he also came off the bench to deliver a game-winning single Tuesday against the Yankees.
The A’s plan has been to start Canha against left-handed pitchers, which hasn’t provided many opportunities considering how many righties Oakland has faced. Melvin hinted Sunday that he might give Canha more innings against right-handers. The A’s face four of them in a row in a four-game series that starts Monday in Detroit.
“We’ve seen in the past when he’s swinging the bat well, it really doesn’t matter right or left,” Melvin said before Sunday’s series finale against the Blue Jays. “When you see him driving the ball the other way, it means he’s trying to track the ball a little bit longer. And when you’re not playing every day it’s the right thing to do. He can produce, and he shows that he doesn’t have to be in there every day to do it.”
Canha is serving as DH Sunday, but another advantage with him is his defensive flexibility. Though first base and left field are his primary positions, he started in right field Saturday and left his feet for a great catch at the wall.
“It wasn’t as tough as it looked, just because you’ve got to play deep here,” Canha said. “The ball flies pretty well and you have to play deep, so I didn’t have to run very far for it.”
Jed Lowrie is nursing some calf soreness, so he was out of Sunday’s lineup with Tyler Ladendorf playing second base. Melvin spent the weekend trying to get several of his veterans one day off among the three games played on the Rogers Center’s hard turf surface. He was confident Lowrie would be fine for Monday’s game against the Tigers.