Melvin has been careful to note he doesn't view it as such, but on Wednesday he handed the left-handed-hitting Eric Sogard a start against Angels right-hander Ervin Santana, marking his fifth start of the year. He has two hits in his last seven at-bats, while the right-handed Donaldson is just 3-for-29 (.103) in eight starts.
"You're always battling the confidence factor," Melvin said. "He's in the big leagues for the first time for an extended period. You get an opportunity to play every day, and when you struggle it can wear on you. I think certain days, some off-days, would probably do him some good, so that he's not grinding so hard.
"I know the feeling of having to look up at the scoreboard and see what your average is. It's still early enough in the season where, if you have one good game, that thing can pop up in a hurry. We'll pick our spots with him, continue to play him but also try to keep Sogard current."
Melvin said the plan is for Donaldson to return to the lineup Thursday, when the A's are set to face lefty C.J. Wilson.