SEATTLE -- The A's are scheduled to face left-handed starting pitchers in Anaheim on Monday and Wednesday when Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs start for the Angels.
Normally, that would mean a return to first base for Alberto Callaspo, the A's hottest hitter and a switch-hitter who is in a first base platoon as the starter against lefties.
Manager Bob Melvin said that Callaspo could serve a designated hitter in at least one of the two games with lefty Daric Barton getting the start at first base.
That's because the A's know that no matter what they do, they are going to have to start left-handed hitters somewhere in the lineup when facing left-handed pitchers. And Melvin will be looking to get a day off for Coco Crisp, like Callaspo a switch-hitter, in one of those games.
"With the amount of lefties we have, there is the potential of maybe giving Coco a day off," Melvin said. "You may still see (Callaspo) DH and have Barton playing first base. We're going to have a couple of left-handers in there somewhere."
The A's haven't faced a left-handed starter since the fourth game of the season (Seattle's Roenis Elias), at which time lefty Josh Reddick was in right field and Sam Fuld, no longer on the roster, was in left with Yoenis Cespedes moving to DH. Right-hander Craig Gentry can play center, and if Cespedes is back in left, that still means two lefties have to start.
Oakland only has four pure right-handed hitters on the roster -- Gentry, Cespedes, third baseman Josh Donaldson and catcher Derek Norris. They also have four switch-hitters in Crisp, Callaspo, backup infielder Nick Punto and starting shortstop Jed Lowrie.
Reddick normally plays against lefties because of his defense, but if he wasn't to play, his backup would be Brandon Moss, also a lefty.
Melvin said he wanted to spell Lowrie, who had started every one of the first 11 games, including both ends of the day/night doubleheader last week against the Indians. Lowrie, who hit .290 last year, is only averaging .242 but he's walked 13 times and has a .364 on-base percentage.
And Melvin is the first to say that Lowrie has hit in some of the toughest luck of any of the A's. Even so, Lowrie, who has batted second five times and third six times, has been on base so much that he leads the team with eight runs scored.
"He's been amazing, when you look at his average and you look at his on base, and he's actually hit into some tough luck this year," Melvin said. "He's very aware of what he needs to do any particular at-bat, wherever he hits in the lineup.
"Usually when you move guys around in the lineup you tell them, 'don't worry about where you are hitting, just go ahead and do what you normally do.' He really does have an understanding of what he needs to do in each and every spot.''