OAKLAND -- Josh Donaldson is not in the A's starting lineup today for just the third time in 141 games this season. Donaldson tweaked his quad during Saturday's game. Manager Bob Melvin called it a strain and said he and the A's trainers wanted to give Donaldson two days of rest -- with the off-day Monday -- in hopes he'll be back in the lineup Tuesday in Minnesota.
Donaldson said this morning Melvin hadn't talked to him about the day off. Melvin said there wouldn't have been much of a point -- Donaldson would have wanted to play. "He can play with some nicks, some aches and pains, but this is one we felt it was prudent to leave him out today," Melvin said.
So it's Alberto Callaspo at third base -- Callaspo's natural position -- and Eric Sogard in the No. 2 spot in the lineup. The Astros were originally going to start right-hander Paul Clemens today, but they just announced they've scratched Clemens with a blister, and Lucas Harrell will start instead. Both are right-handers, meaning Melvin doesn't have to scramble to re-arrange his matchup-laden lineup. Here's the full A's lineup:
And the Astros' lineup against Bartolo Colon:
* Melvin said closer Grant Balfour could be available today if needed, but it sounds like Melvin wants to stay away from him if possible. Balfour threw 35 pitches Friday night, and with the day off tomorrow, could benefit from an extended rest.
"He did say he was on fumes and he's been a little tired," Melvin said. "We'll monitor that today. Potentially he's available, but there's always the potential I'd like to get him through the off-day too."
* Melvin said reliever Dan Otero will leave the team tonight and fly to Arizona to be with his wife for the birth of their child. Otero, who is available out of the bullpen today, will likely rejoin the A's on Wednesday, Melvin said.
* Coco Crisp is back in the lineup after a day off Saturday. Crisp today can tie Ben Grieve's Oakland-era record of eight consecutive games with at least one extra-base hit.
* The A's haven't won behind Bartolo Colon in his last five starts. He still has the lowest ERA in the American League since May 20 (2.23), but has allowed four or more runs in three of his last four starts and hasn't pitched more than five innings in those four.
"You're always going to go through some stretches where you're not at your best," said Melvin. "Hopefully he's through that."
-- Matt Kawahara