ANAHEIM -- A struggling Josh Donaldson has Bob Melvin managing third base like a platoon these days.
Melvin has been careful to note he doesn't view it as such, but on Wednesday he handed the left-handed-hitting Eric Sogard a start against Angels right-hander Ervin Santana, marking his fifth start of the year. He has two hits in his last seven at-bats, while the right-handed Donaldson is just 3-for-29 (.103) in eight starts.
"You're always battling the confidence factor," Melvin said. "He's in the big leagues for the first time for an extended period. You get an opportunity to play every day, and when you struggle it can wear on you. I think certain days, some off-days, would probably do him some good, so that he's not grinding so hard.
"I know the feeling of having to look up at the scoreboard and see what your average is. It's still early enough in the season where, if you have one good game, that thing can pop up in a hurry. We'll pick our spots with him, continue to play him but also try to keep Sogard current."
Melvin said the plan is for Donaldson to return to the lineup Thursday, when the A's are set to face lefty C.J. Wilson.
Crisp forced out of A's lineup with flu bug
ANAHEIM -- A's manager Bob Melvin, naturally wanting to play his hot hands during a slow offensive stretch, couldn't do so with all of them Wednesday, as he was forced to rest an ill Coco Crisp just one night after the outfielder plated the tying run that led to a needed win over the Halos.
Crisp, whose hit came amid a 1-for-23 stretch, was still feeling the effects of a flu bug that surfaced Monday.
"I think he's about the same today," Melvin said. "Just watching him go through that yesterday and not eating and so forth, probably not a good idea for him to play today.
"It's always hard to take him out, whether he's swinging well or swinging poorly, because when he's swinging poorly, you expect him to come out of it, and when he's on base, he creates some havoc. He's a guy you expect to come up with hits like that."
With Crisp held out of the lineup for the third game of a four-game set, Jonny Gomes received his first outfield start of the season, playing in left. Entering the day, he was batting just .143 in six games, four of which he started in the DH spot.
"You end up DH'ing all the time and you never really feel like an extended part of it," Melvin said. "You just feel like you're pinch-hitting all the time, and it's nice to get in that flow of the game. If you notice, Jonny does have some energy, and he likes to move around."
Josh Reddick, initially slotted into the lineup in his natural right-field position Wednesday, was transferred to the designated hitter slot less than an hour before first pitch. Seth Smith, who was to DH, subsequently made his first start of the year in right field. Reddick said earlier in the day he was feeling nauseous, and the A's later confirmed the switch was made because the outfielder was dealing with flu-like symptoms.
In recognition of Earth Day, observed globally on April 22 to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment, the A's will give a redwood seedling to 10,000 fans Sunday before the A's 1:05 p.m. PT game vs. Cleveland, courtesy of FSC-certified Mendocino Redwood.