A's manager Bob Melvin opted to start Eric Sogard at third for Wednesday's regular-season opener against Seattle's Felix Hernandez and Co., but in no way did it reflect Donaldson's roster standing.
"I told Josh yesterday, 'You're our starting third baseman, you're just not starting tonight,'" Melvin said. "I wanted to get in not so much a left-handed bat, but a contact bat with Sogard. He's played well enough to deserve the start, but no matter what happens tonight, Donaldson will be in there tomorrow, and I still want him to think that he's the regular third baseman."
Melvin does not consider it a platoon situation. Rather, he's taking advantage of Sogard's presence during an adjustment period for Donaldson, who has had to endure plenty in the past month following his move from catcher to third base in the wake of Scott Sizemore's season-ending knee injury. Immediately plugging the right-handed hitter into a game against Hernandez wasn't a preferable scenario.
"He's playing a position that's a little out of character for him, he's shown he can play it, he's worked very hard -- I don't think anyone's worked as hard as he has this spring -- and I think, up to this point, he's done a great job," Melvin said.
Though four more exhibition games await the A's upon their return to the States this week, giving Melvin more time to determine who's best suited for the third-base job, it appears Sogard will remain a utility option because of his versatility around the infield.
"These are regular-season games, but we're still kind of in Spring Training mode, trying to find some things out and trying to find the right lineup and who fits where," Melvin said. "As of today, this is the lineup. I think it'll change against a left-hander tomorrow, and I'm not sure where it will be when we open back up at home again."