OAKLAND -- A's infielders Nate Freiman and Adam Rosales were spectators at the start of Saturday's game, a role they'll play plenty over the next couple of weeks. Derek Norris, too.
Beginning Saturday, Oakland is set to face 16 right-handers in a row, meaning the right-handed platoon players will have the challenge of staying ready off the bench.
Freiman, Rosales and Norris are a combined 18-for-144 (.125) against right-handers this year.
"I think, similar to what we did with some of our lefties, if a pinch-hit opportunity comes up, then you try to get them that at-bat," manager Bob Melvin said. "But it's tough. As a role player, you have to find ways to keep yourself ready, and to this point, certainly guys like Freiman have."
Melvin knows the role all too well, having fulfilled it himself during most of his 10-year playing career.
"I was continually struggling to find that," he said. "I actually did like to find a batting practice pitcher or a machine somewhere that kind of simulated game speed, to where you weren't jumping at the ball. It's always going to be more difficult to stay ready for breaking balls, but if you can combat the speed where you don't feel like you have to jump at it, that's half the battle. It's as much mental as it is physical."
Donaldson, Crisp back in action after day off
OAKLAND -- Just in time to greet Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, Josh Donaldson and Coco Crisp both returned to the A's lineup on Saturday.
Donaldson, who suffered a right hamstring cramp in Thursday's 18-inning marathon, was only forced to miss Friday because of the injury, marking just the second time all season the third baseman wasn't in the lineup.
Crisp, returning from a sore right heel, was out of action in two of the last three games.
"I think it was important to give them a full day off yesterday," manager Bob Melvin said. "I think it is key you don't try to overextend somebody. Our training staff is very good about evaluating those types of things, being vocal about when they think a guy needs a day off or when they need to get out of a game. They're really good about that, trying to catch those things and nip them before they become a bigger problem."
Joining Crisp and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup was Chris Young, rather than Josh Reddick, who was given a scheduled day off. Young, who has struggled to the tune of a .184 clip this season, is coming off a three-hit night.
"Any time you have a really good night like he did last night, it's nice to try to get some carryover," Melvin said. "Granted, they have a good pitcher on the mound today, but any time you have a good game it's nice to get rewarded."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.