OAKLAND -- The idea of possibly catching again seems to be growing on Mike Piazza.

Before Wednesday's 3-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers, Piazza said he was curious to see if he could still handle duties behind the plate if his right shoulder improves enough for him to try it.

Piazza, signed by the A's in the offseason to be a full-time DH, sprained his right shoulder May 2 but has swung the bat very well since returning from the DL on July 20.

That the A's are interested in having Piazza available to catch is nothing new. But Piazza sounds more enthusiastic about the idea than he has in the past.

"It's just frustrating. My arm wasn't in great shape before I got hurt, and now it's not coming around like they hoped," Piazza said. "But they indicated they'd still like me to do that. So if I can ... I'd like to."

With rookie Kurt Suzuki handling the starting job and Rob Bowen in place as his backup, the A's don't appear in desperate need of Piazza catching. But Piazza has continued throwing all the while and the team hasn't given up hope he'd be able to catch.

Piazza said he might even try going through some catching drills before Friday's game against the Los Angeles Angels.

"It's just step by step," he said. "We'll pretty much see what I can tolerate. I haven't exactly thrown to bases, just some long toss."

The A's original plan was to have him stay on the DL for a prolonged period to see if he could build up his shoulder and double as a catcher when he came back.

The plan was eventually scrapped, and Piazza has said that he was never fully behind the idea.

But he knows that catching is a way to get him and Jack Cust, who also sees time at DH, in the lineup at the same time. Plus, he's simply curious to see if he can still man the position where he spent the first 14-plus years of his career.

"One thing I don't want to do (if he does catch) is not throw well enough, or injure it further," he said.

Aside from his shoulder, Piazza is confident it wouldn't be tough readjusting to the physical demands of catching.

"Physically I'll be OK," he said. "It will still take some time, but your instincts take over."

Though the A's held on to Piazza as Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline passed, they could still deal him if he were to clear waivers without being claimed by another team.

Short hops

Right-hander Esteban Loaiza (right knee surgery) pitched 4ยช shutout innings and allowed three hits in his first rehab start for Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday night against New Orleans. ... Mark Ellis' solo homer in the sixth inning Tuesday was his career high-tying 13th of the season. He also has gone 67 straight games without committing an error, three behind the team record for second baseman set by Rafael Bournigal. ... Shortstop Bobby Crosby is wearing a hard cast on his fractured left hand and said he still hopes to return in four to six weeks. ... The A's raised more than $35,000 during Wednesday's MUG Root Beer Float Day, with all proceeds going to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

-- Joe Stiglich