OAKLAND -- A's Manager Bob Melvin wants to keep slumping catcher Kurt Suzuki in the lineup for his defense, but he believes that Suzuki's sore left hand is hindering him at the plate.
Before injuries to Yoenis Cespedes and Kila Ka'aihue on Saturday caused Melvin to shuffle the lineup and move Suzuki to seventh, he had his catcher batting ninth. Suzuki has not started a game in that spot since June 12, 2008.
"His hand is bothering him and I want to get him fewer at-bats," Melvin said. "He's had two back-of-the-hand things. He's had a bunch of thumb issues with sinkers. As a catcher you go through periods of the season like this.
"For the most part you are never fully healthy, but he's sucking it up there to get out and play. He's a gamer he doesn't want out of the lineup. He won't tell you this, but I know his hand is bothering him."
Suzuki came into the game hitting .174 (4-for-23) in his previous seven games. He was hit in the hand by a pitch just before this slump.
Melvin said it's possible he may need to give Suzuki a few days off in a row if his hand doesn't improve.