SEATTLE -- The transfer rule was still a hot topic at Safeco Field on Sunday morning, after the A's and the Mariners witnessed its game-changing effects on two separate occasions in Saturday's game.
Twice, Mariners outfielder Dustin Ackley failed to make the transfer from glove to hand after catching a fly ball, allowing the hitter to be safe. Except twice an A's baserunner was called out because of so much confusion on the play.
The rule was initially meant to clarify replay situations on double-play balls, where dropped transfers are often an issue, but it is quickly influencing outfield calls.
"I know they've said it's a work in progress and there will be times they'll look at things and evaluate whether it's right or wrong and make adjustments accordingly," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Whether or not this is one, I'm not sure.
"It's been a tough adjustment. We've had it a lot. It was made for the play at second. I don't think when this rule was put into effect, anyone thought it may come into play in the outfield like you're seeing now. So you really have to change the thinking of your baserunner, and it's tough to do that when it's something that's instinctual."
Josh Donaldson said Saturday night that it may lead to less-aggressive baserunning.
"You have to go halfway, and you're going to have to watch it the entire time, and you might see guys get thrown out at the leading base because they can't get too far away from the other bag for the sheer fact they have to watch it the entire time," Donaldson said. "And some of these outfielders have really good arms, so them throwing it 120 feet is no problem."
Lowrie out of lineup for first time this season
SEATTLE -- While his teammates went for the decisive contest of a three-game set in Seattle on Sunday, Jed Lowrie was given his first day off of the season.
Consider it deserved, as the shortstop entered the day as the only Athletic to have played the field in each of the club's first 11 games, including both halves of a day-night doubleheader.
Lowrie was at shortstop for 101 of 104 possible innings entering Sunday, having been sidelined for only three innings after taking a bounced pitch to his leg in the seventh inning in Minnesota on Monday.
But he was back in the starting lineup for the next game and reached base twice, and his .458 on-base percentage ranks second on the team to Alberto Callaspo's .483 mark. It's also fifth in the American League.
Lowrie has drawn walks in six consecutive games for the first time in his career, compiling nine over that span, and his 13 walks on the year rank third in the AL. He has reached base safely in each of his past 10 games, splitting time between the two- and three-holes of the lineup in that time.
"He's been amazing," manager Bob Melvin said. "You look at his average and his on-base, and he's even hit into some tough luck this year, so he's very aware of what he needs to do in a particular at-bat, wherever he hits in the lineup. I've said that often about him.
"Usually when you move guys around in the lineup, you tell them, don't worry about where they're hitting, just do what you normally do, where he really has an understanding of what he needs to do in each spot."
Nick Punto got the start at shortstop in Lowrie's place Sunday, having faced Mariners starter Chris Young more times (3-for-6) than any other player in the A's lineup.
Callaspo's pace at plate keeps him in lineup
SEATTLE -- Alberto Callaspo was in the starting lineup for a sixth straight game Sunday, a nod to the versatile switch-hitter's continued production.
Callaspo played in just two of the club's first six games but has been part of every one since, reaching base in each of them and going 8-for-20 with two walks and two RBIs in that time. Overall, he was 10-for-25 (.400) with a .483 on-base percentage entering Sunday's series finale against the Mariners.
He made the start in Seattle at third base, allowing the A's to rest Josh Donaldson's legs as the designated hitter.
"It's easy to give JD a DH day when you know you can run Callaspo over there," manager Bob Melvin said. "It's tough to get him out of the lineup because he is swinging the bat so well, not that I want to. We have some lefties coming up, too, so it's nice to be able to give him some consistent at-bats and ride the hot hand."
The A's have faced just two left-handed starters in their first 12 games but will be up against two in the next three days in Anaheim. That means Callaspo is likely to draw at least one start at first base in the series.