OAKLAND — The return of designated hitter Frank Thomas to the disabled list with a strained right quadricep headlined an active day for the A's, who also brought up outfielder Aaron Cunningham from Triple-A Sacramento, reinstated reliever Keith Foulke (right shoulder inflammation) from the 15-day DL and optioned left-hander Dan Meyer to Double-A Midland (Tex.).

To make room for Cunningham on the 40-man roster, the team transferred right-hander Andrew Brown (right shoulder soreness) from the 15-day to the 60-day DL. The A's have now used the DL an Oakland record 24 times this season.

Cunningham has been one of the A's best performers in the minor leagues this season. He played 87 games and hit .317 for Midland before being promoted to Triple-A on Aug. 8. In 20 games with the River Cats, the 22-year-old hit .382 with five home runs and 14 RBI, and was a likely call-up on Monday when major league rosters expand to 40 players.

Foulke had been on the DL since July 4 before he began a rehab assignment in Sacramento on Aug. 2. There he had two blown saves and a 16.62 ERA in three appearances through Aug. 9. Foulke did another rehab with the A's affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League and pitched one scoreless inning with one hit and one strikeout.

The demotion of Meyer wasn't a huge surprise. During the A's 12-2 loss to the Twins on Friday, Meyer was roughed up for six runs and four hits in 1 2/3 innings.

Meyer was sent down to Triple-A on Aug. 17 after allowing five earned runs in three innings of relief in a 13-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. He and Dana Eveland were recalled four days later and inserted into the rotation when Justin Duchscherer and Sean Gallagher went on the DL.

In his first stint with the A's this year, Meyer was 0-1 in six appearances with a 5.52 ERA.

Short hops

A's manager Bob Geren said Gallagher (shoulder fatigue) will throw a side session today. If all goes well, he'll start the second game of the River Cats' opening round playoff series with Salt Lake City on Thursday in Sacramento. Geren said Gallagher's pitch count will be between 50 and 80. "... Geren said Duchscherer's side session Saturday went well. If things go well with his next side session, he could pitch in next Saturday's double-header against Baltimore. "... Second baseman Mark Ellis (sore right shoulder) pinch hit in the bottom of the seventh inning for Cliff Pennington. Ellis struck ouot swinging. "... Online balloting for the Ford C. Frick award, which former A's broadcaster Bill King is again up for, will begin Monday. Fans will choose three of the 10 names on the final ballot, which will be announced Oct. 6. King passed away three years ago.

— Curtis Pashelka