OAKLAND -- Though surgery looms in the near future for Brandon Inge, the A's third baseman isn't quite ready to pack up his bats for the winter.
Inge, who again dislocated his right shoulder in Saturday's 7-1 win over the Red Sox just hours after being activated from the disabled list, will be available off the bench until he goes under the knife next week, at which point his season will be done.
"It's a loss when he has the surgery," manager Bob Melvin said. "For now, he's still an option for us to pinch-hit off the bench. I know he's discussing timing and so forth with the surgery, but if and when that happens, he's an available piece off the bench and another option we have."
The 35-year-old Inge indeed has value as an extra bat, given his knack for collecting hits in key situations. He's hitting .333 with runners in scoring position, compared to .187 with the bases empty. Moreover, seven of his 12 home runs have come with runners on base, with two resulting in grand slams.
Josh Donaldson will take over at third base. The red-hot veteran, batting .344 with six doubles, four home runs and 14 RBIs since his Aug. 14 return, was unavailable Saturday because of a right hip flexor but was back in the starting lineup for Sunday's series finale vs. the Red Sox.
As good as Donaldson has been at the plate, he's also been prone to mental mistakes while on defense. Still, Melvin is confident in Donaldson's ability to handle the position down the stretch.
"I think we're just used to having some different guys here at times and know that the front office is doing their best job to get us the right personnel at the right time," Melvin said. "When Brandon first got here, he was as productive a guy as we've had. That dynamic will be missed. Josh Donaldson has done a terrific job since he's come back. He's picked up for him, and I think that's one of the strengths of our teams -- we lose somebody and somebody else picks up the production."