OAKLAND — Emil Brown chuckled at the inquiry. Yes, he said in response, he is physically sound, and he understands why somebody might be wondering.

The A's RBI leader was on the bench Wednesday night against the New York Yankees , and it wasn't an isolated incident. Brown has been out of the lineup for five straight games and has batted only twice since his last start June 4 against Detroit.

So what gives?

"I don't know, man," he said.

Brown said he met with manager Bob Geren and that Geren told him "we're going to look at a few different things, some different combinations" in the outfield.

Geren started Jack Cust in left field, Carlos Gonzalez in center field and Travis Buck in right field for the fifth straight game. Geren said Wednesday that the A's want to get Buck and Gonzalez significant time, which means Brown essentially finds himself in a platoon with Cust.

"Well, he was sick (Tuesday)," Geren said. "But ... we want to move some things around a bit. (Brown) is going to play more against lefties."

Brown drove in his 37th run May 25 against Boston, a total that put him fourth in the American League at the time. But he hasn't added to that total, and he was in a 3-for-20 rut through Tuesday.


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"I've had a few opportunities to drive in a few runs, and the ones that come to mind, I didn't get them in," Brown said. "I'm struggling, because I'm not getting any hits, and if you're not getting hits you're not going to drive in runs. But if you're struggling, and you're putting the ball in play, you've got a chance. At least, that's the way I look at it. But these decisions are not made by the players."

Daily medical briefing

First baseman/DH Mike Sweeney underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees Wednesday in San Diego, and head trainer Steve Sayles said the team is hopeful Sweeney will be back around the All-Star break. Sweeney will do his rehab in San Diego, Sayles said.

Also, infielder Donnie Murphy took a full infield practice at shortstop and might be ready for a rehab assignment "shortly," Geren said. Reliever Santiago Casilla (elbow ligament strain) threw 10 pitches for Single-A Stockton on Monday and will pitch for Triple-A Sacramento on Friday, Geren said.

Short hops

Geren had his pitchers go through fielding practice before the game. ... Shortstop Gregorio Petit's five-game hitting streak to begin his major-league career is tied with Terry Steinbach (1986) for the third-longest in Oakland A's history, behind Mitchell Page (eight, 1977) and Shooty Babbitt (seven, 1981).

— Rick Hurd