OAKLAND -- While the A's finish out the last leg of the regular season, rehabbing third baseman Scott Sizemore is essentially just beginning his.
Sidelined since Spring Training after undergoing left knee surgery, Sizemore began taking ground balls at third base for the first time on Friday, and he's expected to take a big step on Monday by taking part in another first -- batting practice.
"Monday, that's the day," Sizemore said, smiling. "Everything should start happening on the field then.
"It's very encouraging, because the fewer setbacks you have, it seems the less likely it is to have recurring issues with the injury, so the doubt of all that doesn't creep into your mind as much. It just feels good that it's healing and I can trust it, and I feel like that process is going to continue to happen [with] the more reps that I take."
Right on schedule with his rehab, Sizemore should essentially enter the offseason just as any other healthy player would, what with the same type of routine he's employed every other year to put him in position for a full Spring Training.
But could Sizemore see game action before that time? With the A's playoff chances increasing by the day, he's naturally thought of potentially returning to the team's active roster by year's end.
"Absolutely," he said. "I think we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but right now, I don't think it's really in the plans for me to play, even if we make it all the way to the World Series. But you just never know. I'm not completely ruling the thought out."
After dislocating shoulder, surgery looms for Inge
OAKLAND -- It was one heck of a hurrah had by Brandon Inge.
His right shoulder dislocated just minutes before, the A's third baseman stepped to the plate with two outs and runners on first and third in the third inning of Saturday's contest against Boston, knowing what everyone in the stands didn't: his season was over after this at-bat.
With that in mind, Inge laced a two-run double to right field as part of a four-run frame of Oakland's 7-1 victory. But after the game, the veteran said he'll undergo season-ending surgery in a week or two.
The surgery calls for a typical recovery time of six months, though in a very Inge-like manner, he said with a smile, "I'll be back quicker." Inge has already endured the same procedure on his left shoulder.
"I'm OK. I gave it my best shot," he said. "I knew it was going to be rough coming into this, and I probably didn't tell them how bad it hurt. It was killing me every time I threw the ball, but I just wanted to make sure, in a year like this, I didn't leave anything on the table.
"I know that I can be at peace with myself knowing I literally gave everything I had to offer to this team, and I'm happy with that. I'm pretty sure there are not too many people who would even try to go through what I've been going through since I did it."
Inge initially dislocated his right shoulder Aug. 12 in Chicago and hit the disabled list soon after, before claiming himself ready to go when he was activated from the disabled list prior to Saturday's game. Josh Donaldson, who nicely filled in for the veteran in his absence, figures to continue garnering the majority of playing time at third base moving forward.
Hitting never proved to be an issue for Inge. It was throwing that caused him discomfort, and it took just one throw in the top of the third inning to pop his shoulder out of place again. Adam Rosales shifted from second base to third base in Inge's stead in the fourth inning, with Cliff Pennington entering the game at second.
"He knows he's coming out of the game and he said, 'I can hit,' and to go out there and double knowing it's probably going to be his last at-bat for awhile ... pretty cool," manager Bob Melvin said.
Melvin met with Inge after the game, and the latter made his case as an option off the bench in the coming week before he undergoes surgery.
"I said, 'Realistically, how much are you really going to need me as a designated hitter or a pinch-hitter?'" Inge said. "My value, most of the time, has been defensively. I'll hit a time or two and get some timely hits in RBI situations.
"I know we have plenty guys, but I just wanted to let him know the option is there. I would do anything for him. I would take a bullet for him."
Inge has 52 RBIs in 74 games with the A's, and his presence has meant more to the contending team than what's seen on a stat sheet. He's a go-to guy in an otherwise youthful clubhouse, which is why the 35-year-old hopes to remain with the team after his surgery.
"I want to come back right away, dress with the team, travel with the team, because in this clubhouse I feel like I can still make an impact no matter what," he said. "I'll keep the boys loose, that's for sure."
"I think that's huge," teammate Brandon Hicks said. "It'd be awesome for him to stick around, just to have that presence."
Cowgill, Hicks get called up to add depth
OAKLAND -- Roster flexibility is in tow with the flip of the calendar on Saturday, as the A's called up infielder Brandon Hicks and outfielder Collin Cowgill.
The additions of Brandon Inge and starter A.J. Griffin, reinstated from the disabled list on the same day, brought the A's roster to 29 as they continue their unrelenting push toward the postseason.
Hicks, who hit three home runs in 20 games during his first stint with the A's, was immediately inserted into the lineup for the second of a three-game set with the Red Sox, starting at shortstop while manager Bob Melvin gave Stephen Drew a scheduled day off. Cowgill, meanwhile, provides the club speed off the bench, as well as the ability to get on base.
In his two previous stints with the A's, Cowgill hit .271 with a .343 on-base percentage, one home run and nine RBIs spanning 32 games.
"He's a versatile guy for us," Melvin said. "You always like to have a guy that can run, an aggressive guy that can pinch-run and spell Coco [Crisp] if he needs a day off and is a good defender at all three of the [outfield] positions.
"I'm not sure as far as starts go for him, but he'll give us some in-game depth that we didn't have and, with rosters expanding, you look for some variables, some facets that you maybe don't normally have with just 25 guys."
Speed is one of Jemile Weeks' biggest assets, yet the second baseman -- optioned Aug. 21 in a shocker of a move -- wasn't among the additions on Saturday, and it doesn't appear he'll be one any time soon, based on a vague response Melvin issued to reporters.
"I think anything's still possible," he said. "I don't know. I don't know what to tell you on that one at this point."
Weeks, who was hitting just .220 with the A's, has rallied for a .417 average with Triple-A Sacramento, where he also has a .488 on-base percentage and nine RBIs in eight games. But even without him, the A's still have a handful of options at second base, with Cliff Pennington and Adam Rosales having split time there in Weeks' absence.