OAKLAND -- The A's periodically go on power droughts, as do most teams, and Oakland is in one now with just four homers in the last 11 games.
That hasn't stopped the A's from continuing to lead the majors in runs scored with 444. It's just forced them to be more creative. That includes Monday, when the A's stole three bases in keeping the pressure on the Giants.
Manager Bob Melvin likes to use the running game more in those periods when the home runs are not flying. Craig Gentry is 16-for-16 in steals and Coco Crisp is 15-for-18.
Melvin said Gentry is ``fearless.''
``He has a good understanding; he does his homework on pitchers,'' Melvin said. ``He knows when he has a chance to steal a base and when he doesn't. That's why his success rate is so good. He knows his strength and weaknesses.
``His track record is as good as anyone in the game.''
-- As we reported here Monday, Yoenis Cespedes will be defending his home run title in Monday's Home Run Derby in Minneapolis.
It's an open question whether or not he will be joined by teammate Josh Donaldson.
Home Run Derby captain Jose Bautista named himself, Cespedes, the Twins' Brian Dozier and the Orioles' Adam Jones to the team. A fifth member will be named Thursday, and Donaldson is one of the candidates.
Melvin said he was cool with Cespedes in the derby, although like all managers, he doesn't want to see any negative impact from the exhibition trickle into the second half of the season. Cespedes missed the first four games after the All-Star break last season with a wrist injury.
``There is a lot of torque in his swing,'' Melvin said. ``So whether or not it was just one swing or if it was affected during the Home Run Derby ... I would say probably not, based on the fact that when he first came back, there wasn't a problem.''
-- Right fielder Josh Reddick may be wearing a knee brace for the rest of the season after a hyperextended right knee has him on the disabled list for the second time this season.
``I'm in favor of anything that keeps him healthy,'' Melvin said.
Reddick seems to have made peace with the idea. He got the sleeve, as he calls it, last week and began wearing it over the weekend. And he said the knee, which gave out when he made a throw to the infield on June 28 in Miami, is progressing about as quickly as it did the first time.
He's due to go out on an injury rehabilitation assignment by the end of the week and hopes to rejoin the club after the All-Star break.
"I've about where it was the first time,'' Reddick said. ``It feels good. But it felt good before I made the throw, too.''
Hence the need to get some support from the brace.
-- Left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz, who is recovering from a fractured right hand, is able to catch balls thrown to him in the webbing of his glove on the right hand.
And he's been able to throw during his time on the disabled list, and once he's able to catch the ball in the palm of his glove, he could be ready to go out on an injury rehabilitation assignment.