05/13/12 8:31 PM ET
Balfour unhappy with closer demotion
By Jeff Fletcher / Special to MLB.com
"I told him I wasn't happy," Balfour said before Sunday's series finale against the Tigers. "I was [ticked] off. That's fine. Whatever. I'll just go on the field and do what I gotta do."
Melvin had a different characterization of his meeting with Balfour, which took place sometime after the manager told Balfour and Brian Fuentes last week that Fuentes would be the new closer.
"I wouldn't say he wasn't happy," Melvin said. "It was more 'Do I have a chance to get this back?' and I said 'Absolutely.' I've been on many teams [where] you give the closer a little break and give him a chance to iron things out, and he'll have that opportunity. It's not uncommon that guys get pulled out of that role and end up reclaiming it."
Balfour began the season as the A's closer and gave up one run in his first 10 outings. But he has blown two saves and posted an 11.81 ERA over his last seven games.
Melvin gave the ball to Fuentes for the A's past two save opportunities, and announced after Fuentes' save on Saturday night that he was the new closer.
That didn't sit well with Balfour, who suggested he deserved more leeway.
"Do I feel it was kind of a short leash? A little bit," Balfour said. "I had a couple bad games. I feel like I pitched pretty good for the last year and a month, and a couple bad games and there goes that. It's kind of a bummer. But whatever."
Balfour, who had a 2.47 ERA in 62 games as an A's setup man last year, will pitch with Ryan Cook in the seventh and eighth innings for now, Melvin said.
Melvin said he could use the pitchers in either of those innings. Cook has not allowed a run in 16 2/3 innings this year.
A's use pink bats to raise cancer awareness
OAKLAND -- The three A's swinging pink bats on Sunday didn't have any hits, but they were still happy to help raise breast cancer awareness. Eric Sogard and Anthony Recker joined Daric Barton, who said he uses a pink bat every year on Mother's Day.
"We're all supporting the pink because of the way [our moms] support us and they got us here today," Sogard said. "They are a big part of all our lives. Hopefully they will watch and see that and know we're thinking of our moms."
Barton added: "We're obviously aware of what's going on, and I'm glad MLB does something about it and makes everyone aware of breast cancer."
Barton said his mother usually attends his games on Mother's Day, but this year she couldn't make it because her mother had just been hit by a car and broke her leg. Barton's mother was then in a minor car accident.
"It's been pretty tough at home," Barton said. "They are both doing fine."
Inge latest injury concern for A's
OAKLAND -- Brandon Inge, who had a monster first week in an A's uniform, was out of the lineup on Sunday because of a tight groin, saddling Manager Bob Melvin with another injury and a virtually empty bench for Sunday's series finale against the Tigers.
The A's were also without Jemile Weeks (sprained left ankle) and Kila Ka'aihue (tight right hamstring). Catcher Kurt Suzuki got a day off to rest his sore left hand.
"Our lineup is our lineup today," Melvin said.
The A's, who also have starters Yoenis Cespedes and Coco Crisp on the disabled list, started Cliff Pennington at shortstop, Collin Cowgill in center field, Josh Reddick in right field, Jonny Gomes at DH, Seth Smith in left field, Josh Donaldson at third, Daric Barton at first, Anthony Recker at catcher and Eric Sogard at second.
Inge was the only new injury development before Sunday's game. Melvin said Inge, who hit two grand slams and had 16 RBIs in his first six games with the A's, tried to talk his way into the lineup, but Melvin didn't want to take a chance.
"Based on what we've been seeing lately and the amount of work he's gotten for a guy who hasn't played much before, it's not wise to run him out there if he's a little tight," Melvin said.
Of the players who were dinged up on Sunday, Ka'aihue was the farthest from being ready, Melvin said. He said his designated hitter can hit, but not run.
Weeks, Inge and Suzuki all may be able to play on Monday in Anaheim.
Red-hot Donaldson returns to A's lineup
OAKLAND -- Josh Donaldson left the A's back in April with an .094 batting average staring him in the face, and he came back on Saturday riding a wave to the tune of .447.
That's what Donaldson hit at Triple-A Sacramento in the two weeks between his April 23 demotion and his return to the A's, and there wasn't much difference in his swing, Donaldson said.
"It was one of those things where I caught a couple breaks early [in Sacramento]," Donaldson said. "Then I got locked in and was hitting the ball very well. I wasn't missing any pitches. Up here I was missing every good pitch I had. My confidence is at an all-time high right now."
Donaldson began the season as the A's everyday third baseman, but he struggled so much [3-for-32] he was sent down. His hot streak at Triple-A made him the A's choice to return to the roster when Yoenis Cespedes was placed on the disabled list Saturday.
Donaldson said he got word of his promotion when he was about to take batting practice in Sacramento. He quickly changed and made the 90-minute drive to Oakland, arriving in the sixth inning.
"I can't tell you how fast I was driving," Donaldson said.
Manager Bob Melvin put Donaldson right into the starting lineup against Tigers ace Justin Verlander on Sunday.
Jeff Fletcheris a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.