SAN FRANCISCO -- A's manager Bob Melvin stuck with a struggling Josh Donaldson at third base for Friday's three-game series opener in San Francisco, coming on the heels of two straight games in which Donaldson made noteworthy defensive mistakes.
The decision paid off, as Donaldson put together a career night in the 8-6 loss, going 3-for-4 with a home run, two doubles and five RBIs.
On Thursday, a leadoff ground ball off the bat of Texas' Michael Young went right under Donaldson's legs in the bottom of the ninth inning in a tied game, allowing Young to reach second and giving the Rangers a prime chance to celebrate a walk-off victory. And though reliever Ryan Cook managed to escape the scene without a run scoring, Donaldson again was a topic of discussion Friday, as the error came after he misjudged a Craig Gentry ground ball that helped Texas plate two runs in Wednesday's loss.
"You have to give him a little room to grow," Melvin said. "I think, for the most part, he's done well defensively. When they're struggling like that, you have to support them. You do address the issues, but you have to support them and let them know you have confidence in them."
Melvin had another third-base option in Adam Rosales, who boasts a career 3-for-8 showing with one home run off Giants starter Barry Zito. The A's skipper said his staff "thought long and hard about third base today" but ultimately settled on Donaldson, in part to allow him the opportunity to regain confidence.
"That can weigh on you a bit," he said. "[Thursday's error] didn't cost us. But he's been pretty good over there. He's been working hard to make himself a third baseman. You have to try to support him. You say something to him, you keep running them out there. Obviously, there's a point, whether offensively or defensively, where you do have to draw the line, but I think if I come down on a guy and run him out there and keep coming down on him, I think it's more difficult to play that way."
Entering Friday, Donaldson was 1-for-17 since being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento last week and overall has just four hits in 49 at-bats on the season for a .082 average. He smacked a homer to lead off the third inning vs. Zito.
McCarthy regrets tirade at umpire
SAN FRANCISCO -- A different set of emotions, none like the one displayed during Thursday's game in Texas, overtook Brandon McCarthy later that night, leading the sleepless A's pitcher to create a blog as an outlet to express his feelings over the way he interacted with umpire Laz Diaz.
A visibly furious McCarthy was seen yelling at Diaz after the home-plate umpire ruled a trap on a ball the right-hander actually caught in the sixth inning. The decision allowed the go-ahead run to score for the Rangers, though the A's came back and won, 5-4, in the 10th inning.
"Once I actually saw a replay of it and started thinking about it, my thoughts kind of went running," McCarthy said Friday in San Francisco. "It's something I wanted to get off my chest. It's just one of the first times in my career that I've been through something like that. I just wasn't really thrilled with the way I handled it."
So he turned to the Internet and unveiled a blog post entitled "Anger towards umpires and why I feel like an ...." Seven paragraphs followed, among them this one:
"In the future, I think I'm going to start going for the much calmer discussion/debates. Raging can be fun, but nothing gets accomplished. I'm very aware that Laz did what he felt was correct. I don't know how he didn't see me catch that ball, but he says he did and under his job title, I'm obligated to abide by that. He's just doing his job as best as he knows how, and I stood there and screamed and belittled him for it. That's not how I want to carry myself going forward."
McCarthy insists he wasn't seeking validation and, upon waking up Friday morning, said he still agreed with the words written by his sleepless self hours prior.
"I really try as much as possible to not ever think about what happens other than simply executing what I have to do," he said. "I think some of that was just the leverage of the situation, and I think the other part of it was I knew that was probably my last hitter, so I might have just let myself go a little while with it. It wasn't all that bad, but it was enough for me to realize I try to avoid things like that. It's kind of pointless."
So will McCarthy keep up the writing gig? He's not sure yet, saying the post could be his last one, or one of many to come.
Manager Bob Melvin, who was ejected by Diaz after engaging in a yelling match with the umpire, said Friday that Diaz called him after Thursday's game and acknowledged he made the wrong call.
"I give him credit because he called me and said, 'Hey, I made the wrong call there,'" he said. "My respect for him is even more so, because he did make that call."
Crisp close to return; Cespedes improving
SAN FRANCISCO -- Yoenis Cespedes and Coco Crisp rejoined the A's on Friday in San Francisco, and it appears the latter could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Sunday.
Crisp, who was eligible to be lifted off the DL on Friday, took batting practice with the team and engaged in full baseball activity, all the while appearing fully healed from an inner ear infection that has allowed him to play in just 18 games this season.
The plan is for him to do the same Saturday, at which point the A's will decide his next step, whether it be a possible Minor League rehab stint or a return to Oakland's lineup.
Cespedes, meanwhile, acknowledged his left hand feels better, but there's still no timetable on when he'll begin swinging a bat again. The center fielder was scheduled to see a doctor later in the evening and is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday.
In the meantime, Collin Cowgill received his eighth straight start in center field Friday, with Jonny Gomes playing in left in Crisp's stead.
"We hold down the fort now, and I think this is when the bench players, the role players, they really come to the front," manager Bob Melvin said. "It's their time to feel good about their place, and certainly in the National League games you use the whole roster. It's their time to shine."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.