Donaldson hoping his hot bat keeps him in lineup

Donaldson hoping his hot bat keeps him in lineup

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."