7/2/2014 1:24 P.M. ET
Melvin to lobby for A's All-Star consideration
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
DETROIT -- All-Star voting concludes Thursday in advance of Sunday's roster announcement, and A's manager Bob Melvin plans to make a push for several of his players in between.
Melvin said Wednesday in Detroit he will make a call to American League manager John Farrell in the next several days, as most managers do ahead of decision time.
"In saying that I want to make a call," said Melvin, "I also understand how difficult it is, and he can only pick so many, too. It's not like he picks the whole team. It's a tough job. Every year, several guys get left out that deserve to be on the team."
Third baseman Josh Donaldson was perhaps the biggest snub last year, but this time he's leading his position in fan voting. The latest balloting figures also revealed Yoenis Cespedes is in line for a starting spot, with Oakland's left fielder ranking third in votes among all outfielders. Derek Norris is second among AL catchers behind the injured Matt Wieters, but only by a slim margin.
Pitcher selections are made by Farrell in conjunction with voting done by fellow managers, as well as coaches and players. A's left-handers Scott Kazmir and Sean Doolittle's numbers suggest they're more than deserving of an All-Star nod.
Melvin wasn't ready to publicly name-drop his picks, though.
"I hesitate to say because, one, I'm biased, and, two, I don't want to leave anyone out," he said. "I think there are any number of guys, both on the offensive side and the pitching side, that deserve to be on it. That's my opinion."
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday at 8:59 p.m. PT. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
A's shuffle lineup with return of Cespedes, Norris
DETROIT -- As promised, A's manager Bob Melvin trotted out a new-look lineup for Wednesday's series finale in Detroit to close out his club's fifth consecutive three-city road trip.
Josh Donaldson wasn't in the lineup for just the fourth time all season, as Melvin opted to give his third baseman some rest during this grinding schedule, but the A's did get Derek Norris and Yoenis Cespedes back.
Cespedes, coming off a left hamstring strain that kept him out of Tuesday's game, served as the designated hitter, while Stephen Vogt made his first Major League start in left field -- though he's played there plenty in the Minors. Norris, who missed four straight games with lower back soreness, started behind the plate.
Elsewhere, Nate Freiman made just his third career start against a right-hander -- one Justin Verlander, no less. But Detroit's former Cy Young Award winner has struggled against righties this season, and Freiman spent much of his time in Triple-A this year getting more experience against right-handers.
"Last year, as far as development goes for him, he had a good year at the big leagues in a limited role, which was, for the most part, against left-handed pitching," said Melvin. "So it was good that he was able to further his development this year and face everybody, and his numbers down there would suggest he hit right-handed pitching really well -- close to or as well as left-handed pitching."
Freiman, called up on Sunday, actually hit right-handers better, batting .297 against them in Sacramento, compared to .226 vs. southpaws.
• Melvin reiterated Wednesday that "there's a chance" lefty Eric O'Flaherty could join the A's bullpen as soon as Thursday at home.
O'Flaherty (Tommy John surgery) made another rehab appearance with Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday evening, allowing one hit and one walk with two strikeouts in a combined one inning of work. He recorded two outs in the fifth and one more in the sixth.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.