A's give scuffling Davis first night off
Pennington slides into leadoff spot with outfielder on bench
OAKLAND -- Even Rajai Davis needs a day off every now and then.
The A's speedster, who entered Wednesday tied for the Major League lead in steals, received his first day of rest for the second game of a three-game series with the visiting Yankees.
Along with Daric Barton, Cliff Pennington and Kevin Kouzmanoff, Davis was one of four A's players to start all 15 games this year. However, his recent struggles at the plate influenced manager Bob Geren to sit the outfielder against right-handed starter Phil Hughes.
"It was a good day to get him a day off with a tough righty going," Geren said. "He's been struggling a bit. Sometimes, taking a day off to watch from the bench can help a player."
After going 9-for-24 over his first five games, Davis is 6-for-43 (.140) over his past 10 contests. He was replaced in the leadoff spot on Wednesday by Pennington, who has proven to be a consistent lineup mainstay for the A's in the No. 9 spot.
"He's done a nice job for us and always gives us good at-bats," Geren said. "He can induce walks, as well as homers."
In fact, the switch-hitting Pennington not only leads the team in home runs (two) but also in RBIs (10). He entered Wednesday's matchup batting .239 in 46 at-bats, and Geren said Wednesday's lineup mix will likely be a onetime occurrence.
"He's been in that position before, but it will more than likely just be for today," Geren said.
Buck, Blevins among A's wounded
OAKLAND -- Reliever Jerry Blevins joined the growing list of wounded A's players when he left Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Yankees in the eighth inning after experiencing back spasms.
The injury surfaced on an 0-2 count to Curtis Granderson, whom right-hander Tyson Ross eventually came in to face, replacing Blevins.
"I stepped wrong and landed in a hole," Blevins said after the game. "It seized up real quick when I made that odd landing. I tried to stretch it out, but it's still a little stiff."
The A's won't know much more about Blevins' status until Thursday morning, when they'll also hear news on Travis Buck, a late scratch Wednesday due to a strained right oblique muscle. The outfielder first experienced pain while swinging in the batting cage less than an hour before first pitch.
"I've never had it before," Buck said. "It's a freak thing, really. I was just starting to feel good, so hopefully it won't feel as bad tomorrow as it does today."
However, Buck couldn't hide a rather worried expression on Wednesday night, when he told reporters he's in pain every time he coughs or laughs.
"It hurts pretty good," Buck said. "It's unbelievable when something like this happens. It's frustrating."
Wuertz makes third rehab outing
OAKLAND -- In his ongoing effort to return to a Major League mound, right-hander Michael Wuertz didn't give up a hit in one inning of work for Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday.
The A's reliever, rehabbing from right shoulder tendinitis that had him begin the season on the disabled list, walked two and struck out one in the first frame of the River Cats' mid-morning contest.
Wuertz entered the outing having allowed just two hits and a walk, next to one strikeout, in two innings of rehab work.
Following a 2009 season in which he made a team-leading 74 appearances while posting a 2.63 ERA, Wuertz appeared in just two Spring Training games due to the sore shoulder.
The 31-year-old Wuertz is in the midst of his first career stint on the DL. In the meantime, Oakland's bullpen entered Wednesday having posted a 3.35 ERA -- good for fifth lowest in the American League.
Yanks bring out best in Suzuki
OAKLAND -- The streaky Kurt Suzuki is at it again. And A's manager Bob Geren believes his catcher will continue his productive ways.
Suzuki went 4-for-11 over his first three games before entering a 3-for-26 slump during his next eight contests. However, entering Wednesday's matchup against the visiting Yankees, the catcher was batting .333 in his previous three games.
The timing shouldn't come as much of a surprise, though. The 26-year-old Suzuki is riding an 11-game hitting streak against the Yankees dating back to July 18, 2008, a span during which he's 20-for-47.
"He's starting to swing the bat a lot better," Geren said. "He was getting a little anxious in the zone, but now it looks like he's back to where he needs to be."
Suzuki proved just that by going 2-for-4 with a home run in Tuesday night's 7-3 loss. He batted in the cleanup spot ahead of designated hitter Eric Chavez for Wednesday's affair.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.