ARLINGTON, Texas — The A's hope they will have Yoenis Cespedes back in left field Tuesday night after he's missed four starts with a left hamstring strain.

Cespedes did some running before the first game of the series with the Texas Rangers Monday, testing the leg for the second time in three days. Cespedes originally felt the hamstring give a little while legging out an infield hit Thursday in Houston.

``We'll know more after he runs,'' manager Bob Melvin said, adding that if the medics gave Cespedes clearance to start Tuesday he would be available as an option off the bench later in Monday's game.

There is no question that the A's are a better team when Cespedes, now in the third year of a four-year deal signed after he fled Cuba, is in the starting lineup.

This year the A's are 14-7 coming into Monday when Cespedes starts and 1-3 when he doesn't. And in his two-plus seasons in the big leagues, Cespedes has helped the club to a record of 179-103 when he starts. The A's are 26-41 when he does not.

  • The A's will learn late Tuesday or Wednesday if starting pitcher A.J. Griffin will need Tommy John surgery.

    After feeling some forearm/elbow discomfort in the spring, he was told to take three weeks off, and after five weeks the arm issue, originally diagnosed as right flexor tendinitis, was still giving him problems.

    He will be in Houston Tuesday to see Dr. Thomas Mehlhoff for a second opinion. Mehlhoff operated on A's minor league pitcher Fernando Rodriguez successfully a year ago to the point where Rodriguez is 1-0 with a 1.04 ERA in his first eight games with Triple-A Sacramento.

    There have already been 14 major leaguers who have undergone the season-ending surgery this year, including the A's Jarrod Parker. Two more are schedule for it this week, including Pedro Figueroa of the Rangers who was a part-timer in the A's bullpen the last two seasons.

    And it's not yet May. There were only 24 such surgeries for Major Leaguers for all of 2013.

  • Six consecutive good performances out of the bullpen have revived Jim Johnson's chances to close for the A's.

    After taking two early losses, suffering a blown save and owning an 18.90 ERA, Johnson was taken out of the closer's role earlier this month. He hasn't allowed a run in six games (7.2 innings) and has two wins since the demotion.

    ``It's certainly elevated the potential for him to close,'' Melvin said. ``We did have him up in Houston the second game when we had a three-run lead, then we went to a different option (the A's took a seven-run lead), but he's pitching really well.''

    That being said, the A's aren't ready to commit to Johnson, who has had back-to-back 50-save seasons in 2012 and 2013 with Baltimore, as their closer quite yet.

    ``Overall (the closer by committee) remains the same,'' the manager said.