Notes: Ellis happy to be back

Notes: Ellis happy to be back

OAKLAND -- Mark Ellis is the kind of player who wants his name in the lineup every day and when he missed the entire 2004 season with a shoulder injury he said he felt like an outsider when he came back the next season.

When he returned on Friday to the A's lineup for the first time since May 31, he still didn't like the feeling of being out of the lineup, but missing four weeks felt better than a season.

"This is a totally different feeling from [2004]," Ellis said. "I never want to [miss that much time] again."

The A's second baseman missed 26 games with a broken right thumb and was slotted in the No. 7 spot in the A's lineup for Friday night against the Diamondbacks.

"Everything feels fine," Ellis said. "I did just about everything with Sacramento. I turned a double play and I fielded a ground ball with my bare hand."

The 29-year old played four games in Triple-A with the River Cats and went 2-for-12 with two RBIs and four walks. Ellis is batting with a foam support over his right thumb that is supposed to deaden the impact of hitting.

Ellis said the pad is not an inconvenience for him swinging the bat. The right-hander was hitting .226 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in 44 games before the injury. He led the A's with a .316 average in 2005.

A's designated hitter Frank Thomas also returned to the lineup on Friday after being out since June 15 with a strained right quadriceps.

Thomas did not play in any rehab assignments and has been taking batting practice for about a week. The A's are not worried about Thomas' bat, but rather the wheels that support his 275-pound body.

Thomas has also suffered hamstring pain earlier in the year and had foot and ankle injuries during the past two seasons with the White Sox.

But during his time on the diamond this season Thomas has 16 homers and is batting .313 with a .452 on-base percentage over his last 27 games before the injury.

A's shortstop Bobby Crosby said that he was happy to get Thomas' big bat back in the lineup.

"It will be good for us," Crosby said. "Our offense could use a little boast right now. We're not hitting as well as we could right now, so it will definitely help.

The A's have hit three homers in their last 11 games and Jay Payton's homer on Thursday snapped a season-high-tying five-game homerless drought. Oakland is batting .223 in Interleague Play and over the last nine games the A's have scored 31 runs (3.4 per game).

Marco Scutaro filled in for Ellis at second base for most of the games and is hitting .294 in June with 10 RBIs and seven doubles.

"The job [Scutaro] did was more than commendable," said A's manager Ken Macha. "We have been fortunate to have him here the last three years."

Two up, two down: With Thomas and Ellis coming back to the A's, Mike Rouse and Doug Clark were optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.

Rouse was called up on June 9 and played in eight games. He hit .292 with three doubles and two RBIs. In his Major League debut against the Yankees he went 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored.

"[Rouse] gave us a tremendous boost at Yankee Stadium," Macha said. "He did nothing but enhance his position [while he was here]. I told him to be ready in case he gets called up again."

Clark played in six games for the A's and collected his first Major League hit on Wednesday at San Diego.

Please sign on the dotted line: The A's announced on Friday that they have agreed to terms with two more players from the First-Year Player draft that was held on June 6 and 7. The players are shortstop Christian Vitters (10th round, Fresno State) and right-handed pitcher Jason Fernandez (11th round, Louisiana-Lafayette).

The A's have now signed or agreed to terms with 24 of their first 29 selections from the draft. They still haven't signed their first pick, Trevor Cahill, a pitcher from Oceanside, Calif., who was picked in the second round.

Crow hops: Eric Chavez got the day off on Friday and is still having pain in his forearms. Athletic trainer Larry Davis said that Chavez's pain is commonly referred to as tennis elbow and it is highly unusual for the pain to occur while swinging the bat. Davis said that Chavez is day-to-day and neither Macha nor Davis think he will need time on the disabled list to recover. ... Macha said he wanted to give A's outfielder Nick Swisher a mental day off on Friday, but Bobby Kielty is having shoulder pain and got the day off instead. ... Milton Bradley, who has been on the DL since June 20 with a strained left shoulder, hit 20 times off the tee and from soft toss on Friday. Davis said that Bradley could possibly take batting practice on Monday. ... Macha said that Ron Flores and Chad Gaudin are the only relief pitchers not available on Friday after the 14-inning game on Thursday.

Up next: On Saturday, Esteban Loaiza (3-4, 6.34 ERA) will look for his second straight win as he faces Miguel Batista (7-5, 5.21 ERA) of the Diamondbacks in the second match of the three-game series at McAfee Coliseum.

Ryan Quinn is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.