MINNEAPOLIS -- The A's got back their prized early season acquisition on Monday, reinstating third baseman Brandon Inge from the disabled list and immediately inserting him into a lineup that scored just eight runs in six games on the team's last homestand.

At the time Inge went down with a right groin strain, he was 7-for-23 with four home runs -- two of them grand slams -- and 16 RBIs over his last six games. The A's hope for more of the same from the veteran, as they embark on a six-game road swing through Minnesota and Kansas City in the midst of a five-game losing streak.

Inge also went 6-for-7 in two rehab starts with Triple-A Sacramento, including a 5-for-5 night Saturday that saw him collect two home runs (one grand slam), two doubles, three runs and seven RBIs.

"Based on what he's done recently with us, to try to put those expectations on him all the time is probably unrealistic," manager Bob Melvin said. "Good defense, a professional hitter who can knock in some runs, I think that's what we expect out of him. To hit a grand slam every other day, that's probably a little too much to expect."

Oakland's .209 average going into Monday ranked last in the Majors, as did its .215 average with runners in scoring position, and the team's slugging (.332) and on-base percentage (.284) were second-to-last. Inge won't fix all, but Melvin and Co. hope his arrival is the first of many. Yoenis Cespedes is expected back by week's end, and Manny Ramirez could join the team as soon as Wednesday.

To make room on the 25-man roster for Inge, the A's optioned backup catcher Anthony Recker to Sacramento. Recker, whose role as Kurt Suzuki's understudy will be filled by Josh Donaldson, was batting .129 in 13 games, including 10 starts.

"Recker wasn't getting an opportunity to be successful for a guy that's used to playing a good portion of the time," Melvin said. "During the season, there will be times where some of the role players will need some at-bats, and that was the case with him."

Manny will not debut for A's before Friday

MINNEAPOLIS -- Manny Ramirez will not join the A's roster during the next two days, the team announced Monday.

Ramirez, who was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball for a violation of the drug policy, would be eligible to join the club Wednesday. He went on a 10-day rehabilitation assignment to Triple-A Sacramento, with the goal being that he would rejoin the big league club as soon as he was ready.

But A's assistant general manager David Forst said Monday that Ramirez would not be called up when he is initially eligible.

"We will continue to monitor Manny's progress on a day-to-day basis in hopes of bringing him to Oakland just as soon as he is ready to contribute at the Major League level," Forst said.

Because Ramirez's rehab assignment expired Monday, he was ineligible to play Tuesday. Moreover, the club announced that Ramirez would not join the team Wednesday. That means a Friday appearance in Kansas City, when Yoenis Cespedes is also expected back, could be more realistic.

Ramirez, who had two hits Monday, batted .250 in 32 at-bats with Sacramento.

Donaldson to catch as part of utility role

MINNEAPOLIS -- With Anthony Recker out of the big league picture for now, the A's plan on relying on Josh Donaldson to handle backup catching duties, while at the same time serving in a utility role that could result in occasional starts at not only third base but first as well.

Recker was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento on Monday to clear a roster spot for Brandon Inge, forcing Donaldson to reintroduce himself to his catching gear. He temporarily put away the tools of ignorance in Spring Training when he assumed the everyday third-base role in the wake of Scott Sizemore's season-ending knee injury.

"He'll do a little bit of everything," manager Bob Melvin said. "He'll have multiple gloves. It is always nice to have that versatility. He's a great athlete."

Donaldson, who started five games at catcher during a three-week stint with Sacramento earlier this season, will spell regular backstop Kurt Suzuki occasionally. He went right to work on Monday, catching a handful of bullpen sesions.

Donaldson had started each of the last 14 games at third base, going 9-for-50. On the season, his batting average rests at .145.

Worth noting

• Right-hander Brandon McCarthy (shoulder) threw a bullpen on Monday in Minnesota, and barring any setbacks, appears to be on track to start Saturday's game in Kansas City, when he's eligible to be activated from the disabled list.

• The Padres claimed right-hander Neil Wagner off waivers from the A's. Wagner pitched in six games in relief last season with a 7.20 ERA and was 1-1 with a 5.49 ERA in 15 games at Triple-A Sacramento this season.