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07/07/11 9:15 PM ET

Fosse recalls former skipper Williams

ARLINGTON -- The Athletics saw the passing on Thursday of former manager Dick Williams, who presided over the first two seasons of the A's back-to-back-to-back World Series championships from 1972-74.

"I know that every one of those players that played for him is very sad," A's broadcaster and starting catcher for the 1973 team, Ray Fosse, said. "He was very well respected, and what more can you say about playing for someone that you want to play hard for."

Williams, 82, is believed to have suffered a brain aneurism at his Las Vegas home earlier on Thursday.

Fosse said that Williams was a master of ensuring that the players were not involved with the dealings of the A's owner at the time, Charlie Finley, who was notoriously frugal.

"We knew things were going on, but Dick never let us know what was happening," Fosse said. "We played to win, and he was a very, very good manager."

Williams resigned after the A's won the 1973 World Series, when he and Finley did not reach terms on a new contract.

"He made some great players on those teams," Fosse said. "Changing Rollie from starter to closer, Hall of Fame career because of it, he could see things like that."

Williams himself was inducted into the Hall of Fame, as one of two managers to take three different teams to the World Series.

Willingham rejoins lineup

ARLINGTON -- Josh Willingham returned to the Oakland lineup, batting cleanup and starting in left field on Thursday, after missing 17 games with a left Achilles strain.

A's manager Bob Melvin said there should be no issues for Willingham with running the bases or playing left field.

"That's the reason we went the extra yard," Melvin said. "Hopefully, it's not an issue. And if I was only able to DH him, I probably wouldn't have activated him. He even said when he was doing the rehab that he'd get stiff moreso DH-ing and sitting around between at-bats. The focus all along was once we get him back, we'd be able to play him in the outfield."

Last Sunday, Melvin said the team was moving back Willingham's starting point indefinitely to ensure that he was healthy, and Thursday appeared to be the first day that he could.

Melvin also said he planned to start Willingham at designated hitter on Friday.

Godfrey sent to Minors

ARLINGTON -- With Grant Balfour coming off the disabled list for Thursday's game, the A's sent down long reliever Graham Godfrey to Triple-A Sacramento.

Balfour has not allowed a run in nine of his last 10 outings, and only allowed a single run in the other outing.

"First with Godfrey, we took him out of the rotation, obviously, with guys coming back. He was in the long role, [but] didn't get to pitch," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said.

The 26 year old was sent down in order to ensure he was pitching regularly, and would be able to come back up if any starters sustained an injury that he would need to fill in for.

"He was preparing and staying ready. But now, it has gotten to the point where he has to just go down and pitch," Melvin said. "Get his pitch counts back up, whether it's insurance on a starter or long reliever, or something along those lines."

Moscoso heads to Triple-A

ARLINGTON -- Just one day after pitching seven shutout innings in Oakland against the Seattle Mariners, Guillermo Moscoso found himself going down to Triple-A Sacramento to make room for Josh Willingham.

While it was a tough break for Moscoso, A's manager Bob Melvin said that he fully expects for Moscoso to be back on the A's 25-man roster very soon.

"I consider him part of this team, and we'll see what happens on the 19th." Melvin said.

"I can't promise him anything, but you've seen this guy pitch. You've seen what he's done for this team. He deserves to be the frontrunner [to return]."

Melvin said that one of the biggest reasons Moscoso went down was that the impending All-Star break, starting on Monday, made it unnecessary to carry the starter through until his next start on the 19th.

"He was sent down because of the fact that there were no more starts for him, at this point, until the end of the first half," Melvin said. "I couldn't use him in long relief here because he just threw 110 pitches. He'll go down, he'll pitch on the 14th. Our next start where we need a fifth starter here is on the 19th."

With reliever Grant Balfour and Willingham coming up for Moscoso and long reliever Graham Godfrey, the A's are ensuring that they will have enough pitchers in the bullpen to go toe-to-toe with the AL West-leading Texas Rangers for four games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

"I spelled it out for him, and he understood there wasn't another start, and he was basically unusable in this series. And in a four-game series in this ballpark, you do need pitching," Melvin said. "We still have an eight-man bullpen, and that's important to have here. In that respect, he understood. But he certainly was disappointed. I feel bad for him."

Worth noting

• The Rangers and A's are first and second in the American League in both errors and unearned runs.

• The A's are 13-12 against other AL West foes, and just 26-37 against everyone else.

• Oakland has hit two home runs or fewer in each of its last 59 games.

• The A's .235 team batting average would be their lowest going into the All-Star break since 1982.

Louie Horvath is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.