Willingham rejoins lineup

Willingham rejoins lineup

ARLINGTON -- Josh Willingham returned to the Oakland lineup, batting cleanup and starting in left field on Thursday, after missing 17 games with a left Achilles strain.

A's manager Bob Melvin said there should be no issues for Willingham with running the bases or playing left field.

"That's the reason we went the extra yard," Melvin said. "Hopefully, it's not an issue. And if I was only able to DH him, I probably wouldn't have activated him. He even said when he was doing the rehab that he'd get stiff moreso DH-ing and sitting around between at-bats. The focus all along was once we get him back, we'd be able to play him in the outfield."

Last Sunday, Melvin said the team was moving back Willingham's starting point indefinitely to ensure that he was healthy, and Thursday appeared to be the first day that he could.

Melvin also said he planned to start Willingham at designated hitter on Friday.