CLEVELAND -- The A's will honor the Petaluma (Calif.) National Little League Team before Friday's series opener against the Red Sox.
Petaluma, the hometown of A's outfielder Jonny Gomes, finished third in the Little League World Series. They made up a 10-run deficit in the sixth inning of a semifinal game against Goodlettsville, Tenn., before falling, 24-16, in extra innings. In the third-place game, Petaluma topped Aguadulce, Panama, 12-4.
Gomes has frequently sported a Petaluma shirt in the clubhouse in recent weeks, and he has helped raise money to cover the team's transportation and lodging costs in Williamsport, Pa.
"If I was lucky enough to go to Williamsport when I was 12, there would be no chance my family would have been able to go on their own dollar, and how bummed out I would be about that," Gomes said.
On Friday, the team will be recognized in a pregame ceremony on the field at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. During the national anthem, the players will take the field alongside the A's starters before taking in the game from the luxury suites, courtesy of Gomes.
Donaldson hoping his hot bat keeps him in lineup
CLEVELAND -- Josh Donaldson hopes his recent play speaks for itself. If it does, he shouldn't see much of a dip in playing time when the rosters expand on Saturday and players return from injury.
A quick glance at Donaldson's overall numbers -- a .228 average with four homers and 18 RBIs in 44 games -- would suggest otherwise. However, since the A's recalled the third baseman from Triple-A Sacramento on Aug. 14, Donaldson has hit .350 (21-for-60) with three homers and 11 RBIs in what is his third stint with Oakland this season.
"He's been terrific," said manager Bob Melvin. "It's almost like the third time's the charm for him. Almost every game, he's been on it for us offensively. To come back up and look at .140 or .150 or whatever his average was, that's difficult to do. He put that aside and has given us consistent at-bats for the better part of the time he's been here since his third callup."
Donaldson smashed a two-out, three-run homer in the fourth inning of Wednesday's 8-4 win. Entering Thursday's contest against Cleveland, he had reached base at a .403 clip and compiled a .561 slugging percentage over his previous 15 games.
On Thursday, he socked his second homer in a 24-hour span, a solo shot in the ninth inning.
Infielder Brandon Inge is set to return to the big league club as early as this weekend, as he completes a rehab assignment while recovering from a strained right shoulder. Donaldson replaced Inge on the active roster when the veteran landed on the disabled list.
Donaldson said he knows the only way to ensure playing time is to keep hitting.
"I'm not Bob. I don't make the decisions," Donaldson said. "Hopefully, I've made it tough on him. I feel like I've been playing well, and we're winning right now. I think that's the biggest part."
Reddick moves back to third spot in order
CLEVELAND -- Josh Reddick has bounced around the Athletics' batting order recently, but he moved back to a familiar spot on Thursday.
Manager Bob Melvin penciled his right fielder into the No. 3 hole. Previously in the series against the Indians, Reddick batted second and sixth.
"Our lineups will move around," said Melvin, who wanted to use right-handed Yoenis Cespedes, batting cleanup, to split up a slew of lefties in his lineup. "I think that's the best thing for [Reddick] today, and he is swinging the bat better."
Reddick hit .500 (9-for-18) in four games after Melvin moved him out of the third spot in the order. Before the hot stretch, he compiled a .149 average (14-for-94) with 31 strikeouts in 23 contests.
Back in comfortable territory on Thursday, Reddick went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer.
"To trot down to that six spot the last day in Tampa, it made me realize that I needed to really get out of this thing and take a lot of pressure off myself," Reddick said.
In all, Reddick has tallied 27 home runs in 124 games. Entering this season, he had socked 10 homers in 143 career contests.
"He's one of the better right fielders in the game now, and I think everybody's starting to see that," Melvin said. "We saw it from the beginning of the season."
The A's are 60-35 (.632 winning percentage) with Yoenis Cespedes in the starting lineup and 12-22 (.353 winning percentage) when the Cuban rookie doesn't start.
Oakland entered Thursday's contest a season-high 15 games over .500 (72-57). The A's haven't been more than 15 games over .500 since finishing the 2006 campaign 93-69.