OAKLAND -- Eric Sogard got his second start of the season at shortstop Tuesday with Jed Lowrie sidelined by a sore right index finger.

Lowrie suffered some bruising of his right index finger thanks to a bad-hop grounder Monday against the Rays. He remained in the game for all 10 innings, but he was decided that he was best served by getting Tuesday's start off.

Lowrie may get a second day off on Wednesday; Melvin wasn't prepared to say if Lowrie was available to play Tuesday.

"With Nick (Punto) out, he's the next guy,'' Melvin said of Sogard."He's played quite a bit of shortstop for us before. It just hasn't been this year.''

Sogard, normally a second baseman, had 15 games at shortstop in 2013.

  • Center fielder Coco Crisp was back in the starting lineup after missing eight consecutive starts, although he did pinch-hit and play center field in the late innings of Monday's series opener.

    Crisp, who has had off-and-on neck pain since May 7 when he ran into a pole in the Coliseum's outfield fence while making a catch, was the DH Tuesday. Melvin said he would likely put Crisp in center in Wednesday's series finale.

    "It puts a smile on my face,'' Melvin said about being able to write Crisp's name in the lineup."He does a lot for us at the top of the lineup. I had him in the game in the outfield yesterday. If I hadn't, I might have started him in center today.''


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  • Josh Reddick had an easy explanation for stroking the beards of teammates Stephen Vogt and Eric Sogard while waiting for a rally from the A's offense in Monday's 10-inning 3-2 win over the Rays.

    "It's only weird if it doesn't work,'' Reddick said.

    He did it with the score tied 2-2 in the 10th and one out. One out later, the A's had a win on the bearded Derek Norris's RBI single.

  • Kyle Blanks, who has been on the disabled list with a left calf strain since June 23, was running sprints Tuesday, breaking hard out of the batter's box, simulating singles and doubles, also going from first to third and from second to home.

    "It feels good,'' Blanks said."I hope to be out of here (and on an injury rehabilitation assignment) this weekend.''

    Before that he happens, he'll have to have one run session running hard on the bases.

    "If something is going to happen, I'd rather have it happen now,'' he said."But it is feeling pretty good.''

  • Infielder Nick Punto, whose hamstring injury led to him going onto the disabled list after Sunday's game, was walking around the clubhouse without an obvious limp.

    "I'm surprised the way Punto is walking around,'' Melvin said."I'd expect at this stage he'd be limping. He's ahead of the game as far as when you think a guy would be.''

    Punto is spending time on the exercise bike while waiting for his hamstring to heal.

  • With lefty Drew Smyly making his first start for the Rays after coming over from Detroit in the David Price trade, A's lefty hitters Brandon Moss and Stephen Vogt got the start off.

    Part of that was Smyly, who can be tough on lefties. Part of it was recent history. Vogt came into Tuesday hitless in his last 20 at-bats during which his batting average has fallen from .361 to .321 while Moss was 0-for-14 of late and 15-for-88 (.170) in his last 22 games.

    "We didn't expect him to hit .380 this year; he probably did,'' Melvin said of Vogt."Like a lot of our guys recently he's in a little bit of a funk right now. I've said before I'm going to take days when we have left-handed pitching to give him some time off. The guy is playing with some pain.''

    That's pragmatic, because Vogt has a sore right foot that is keeping him from catching and that would do well with some time off.

    For more on the A's, see John Hickey's Inside the A's blog at ibabuzz.com/athletics. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JHickey3.