BALTIMORE -- Eric Sogard was back in the lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Orioles, providing a break for regular second baseman Jemile Weeks. This is good news for both Sogard and about 15 of his family members, who live in the Baltimore area and have been vocal supporters for the A's all weekend.
The Sogard clan has seats just behind home plate and has been vociferous when the A's score a run or make a solid play defensively. Sogard has appreciated the support, and repaid his family with his second homer of the season on Friday in the A's 5-2 victory. Manager Bob Melvin said Sogard has been an important addition to the roster because of his versatility, and because he adds some extra pop in the lineup.
"He's our utility guy, and he can play second, third or short," Melvin said. "He seems to be a sparkplug on days he's in there. He had a nice little home run for us the other night. Whatever we have going on, we feel he'll be able to handle it."
Luke Hughes was scheduled to start at third base for the A's in Friday's series opener against Baltimore, but was he pulled out of the lineup just before batting practice because of a fever and flu-like symptoms. Sogard was ready on short notice, and he responded with the homer, and was solid defensively.
"I had to change my routine a little bit when I got the news," said Sogard, who is hitting .167 in 12 games this season, with the two homers and six RBIs. "I was in the weight room, but luckily not that long before I heard I was in the lineup. I went out and did the usual pregame work."
Hughes, who was claimed off waivers from the Twins a week ago, was back at third base on Saturday and went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. Hughes said he got some rest and plenty of fluids when he returned to the team hotel Friday and was was ready to play. He is hitting .150 on the season and started at third again on Sunday.
"It knocked me down for a few days, but I'm feeling better," Hughes said.
Melvin still has faith in starting rotation
BALTIMORE -- Despite allowing 10 runs to the Orioles on Saturday night, A's manager Bob Melvin is still confident in the current shape of the team's starting rotation.
Melvin was especially pleased that one of his most experienced pitchers, Bartolo Colon, was on the mound on Sunday as the A's tried to get the series win. Righty Tyson Ross was roughed up in a 10-1 loss to the Orioles on Saturday, allowing nine runs on 11 hits with one strikeout and one walk over four innings, ballooning his ERA from 2.13 to 6.48.
"I think we feel good about everybody who's pitching right now," Melvin said. "Tyson, up until last night, had two really good outings for us. I actually like everybody we send to the mound. But certainly, the way Bartolo has pitched, just his whole demeanor and what he's done for us this year, lends to our team feeling good when he takes the mound."
As the offense has continued to struggle, the A's pitching has carried the team so far this season. The A's entered Sunday's game having compiled a 2.78 ERA over the last 10 games, and have an ERA of 3.02 on the season -- second best in the American League. The A's also lead the Majors with four shutouts this season.
Weeks gets a breather on Sunday
BALTIMORE -- A's second baseman Jemile Weeks got the day off for Sunday's series finale against the Orioles. Utility man Eric Sogard, who homered on Friday, got the start instead.
"I want to keep him current with his at-bats, but I don't want to run him down," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Weeks. "He's the one guy I have not gotten an off-day for, and I told him three or four days ago I was going to try and get him an off-day."
Weeks is batting is just .193 this month, and has gone 0-for-6 in this series. Melvin said the day off will serve him well before the team heads to Boston for a three-game series starting Monday.
"I think day game after a night game and those types of variables might be good for him," Melvin said.
Todd Karpovich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.