MIAMI -- The A's were facing a right-handed pitcher in Anthony Desclafani of the Marlins Friday, but you wouldn't automatically deduce that from the lineup manager Bob Melvin put together.
The catcher was Derek Norris, who does get some starts against right-handers, but not with both lefty catchers, John Jaso and Stephen Vogt, on the bench. But because of the DH-less National League, Norris was the only catcher in the lineup.
Melvin wanted to get Norris in after he missed both games in New York, meaning he hadn't started since taking the backswing of a bat to the jaw last Sunday in Oakland against the Red Sox.
Eric Sogard, who does bats left-handed, wasn't in the lineup either, replaced by Alberto Callaspo at second base. Since Callaspo is a switch hitter, the move isn't costing the A's a left-handed bat, but it's a continuation of decreased playing time for Sogard. His average languishes at .194.
The A's have faced three right-handed pitchers to start this road trip, and Callaspo has started over Sogard against all three.
It's not like Callaspo is tearing it up. He comes into Friday with three hits in his last 19 at-bats (.158) after a stretch where he went 8-for-11 (.727) immediately after rejoining the team following the birth of his son.
Sogard's struggles are a matter of some concern. He's had just three hits in his last 23 at-bats (.130) over his last 14 games. Sogard is a better second baseman than Callaspo, but his defense isn't enough to get him starts lately.
He gave up two hits and two runs in two-thirds of an inning while throwing 24 pitches. He's pitched in five games, 6¿1/3 innings and has a 5.68 ERA.
Melvin said the prime concern now is for O'Flaherty's health and arm strength to remain intact, but at some point he would like to see him pitching back to form as he gets close to his expected activation from the disabled list in early-to-mid July.
Lowrie, who hit .290 last year, was at a reasonably productive .251 on May 24, but he's 15-for-99 (.152) since then. He's been hitting the ball better lately, Melvin says, but without anything to show for it.
"That's the real frustrating part of it,'' Melvin said. "When you are struggling some and then you put together some good at-bats and you hit the ball right at people, you try to say `all right, those are good at-bats and I hit the ball hard.' But it's frustrating because you don't have anything to show for it. So it's a pretty frustrating time for him right now.''