HOUSTON -- It seems that the A's will be leaning on veteran left-hander Eric O'Flaherty to serve as the club's interim closer with Sean Doolittle out for at least two weeks with an intercostal (right side) strain.
Manager Bob Melvin wouldn't name O'Flaherty directly, but he did say that it was important to keep most of the A's relievers in the roles they're used to an in which they've had success.
"I do have some guys in mind," Melvin said. "We do want to keep guys in roles as much as possible. I'm not prepared to say `this is my closer.' But we've spoken to the group and we'll wait and see how today's game plays out."
That means right-handers Luke Gregerson (eighth inning), Ryan Cook (seventh inning) and Dan Otero (whenever needed) and lefty Fernando Abad (seventh or eighth inning as needed) can stay in roles for which they've some proficiency.
O'Flaherty said he's never had much time as a closer, and in 387 career games he's never had a save. He has pitched 49 times in the ninth inning, but most of his work has been in the seventh and eighth.
"We'll do whatever we have to do to get the job done," O'Flaherty said of the bullpen as a whole. "I've never done it much, but we'll get it figured out."
The veteran infielder could be activated later this week with Melvin saying ``we're starting to see light at the end of the tunnel,'' and with Punto saying ``I feel like I'm getting close.''
He could play catch in the next couple of days, and once that happens he can start taking at-bats and doing general baseball activities that would get him close to being available.
That injury came just as his three-week battle with hamstring pain was winding down.
"I was just getting to the point where I could run hard again," Donaldson said. "Then I felt this thing pop."
Because the MRI showed no damage to his left knee, Donaldson was back in the lineup Monday at his own request.
Melvin, however, said he and the training staff would closely monitor Donaldson to make sure he's holding up.