Programming note: A’s-Rangers coverage starts today at 4:30 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
ARLINGTON, Texas -– Josh Donaldson is back in the A’s lineup Saturday night after injuring his left knee in Friday’s victory against the Rangers.
Manager Bob Melvin said Donaldson gave him a quick summary Saturday afternoon: “It’s a little bit sore but I’m in there.”
That was enough for Melvin to pencil in Donaldson at third base and his usual No. 3 spot in the batting order. Donaldson banged his knee hard on the infield dirt Friday night while diving for a grounder that shot past him just foul. He stayed on the ground and was tended to for a few minutes but remained for the rest of the game.
“He’s sore,” Melvin said, “but if you can stay in the game like he did last night when he was banged up some, and if he can walk around today, that’s basically the temperature he takes on it. … It’s an inspiration to get a guy in the lineup that’s that banged up, and to stay in the lineup last night.”
Asked about Donaldson’s American League MVP candidacy, Melvin said he thinks the third baseman once again boasts strong credentials. Donaldson finished fourth in last year’s MVP race. This season, he’s hitting .253 with 28 home runs, 97 RBI and figures to get strong Gold Glove consideration. The batting average is down considerably from last season’s .301 mark, but his homers and RBI are up.
According to Fangraphs.com, Donaldson ranks eighth among all major league players with a 6.3 WAR rating, an all-encompassing stat that aims to judge a player’s overall value to his team.
“What he means for our team is pretty significant, and that’s what you go by,” Melvin said. “Sometimes when a guy’s not hitting .300 or whatever … nowadays average probably isn’t the most important thing. It’s production, and defense, all of the above. He gives us all of that, so I’d say he’s definitely in that equation.”
Rangers lefty Derek Holland was scratched about 45 minutes before the start of Saturday’s game due to a migraine headache. Right-hander Scott Baker was inserted to start in his place.
That was a break from the A’s perspective, considering their struggles against left-handed starters. Melvin re-wrote his lineup:
1. Coco Crisp (S) CF
2. Adam Dunn (L) DH
3. Josh Donaldson (R) 3B
4. Brandon Moss (L) LF
5. Josh Reddick (L) RF
6. Jed Lowrie (S) SS
7. Stephen Vogt 1B
8.Geovany Soto (R) C
9. Eric Sogard 2B
RHP Jeff Samardzija (5-5, 2.92 ERA)