Inge, who's been on the DL since May 13 with a right groin strain, was sent to Triple-A Sacramento for a two-day rehab assignment beginning Friday. The plan was for Inge to play six innings for the River Cats on Friday and a full nine innings on Saturday. Provided there are no setbacks, Inge will rejoin the A's on Sunday and travel with the team to Minnesota, where Oakland begins a six-game road trip.
The third baseman was heating up before injuring his groin. He went 7-for-23 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in his last six games before landing on the DL, including a walk-off grand slam against the Blue Jays on May 8.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson has started the last 12 games in Inge's place, but has struggled at the plate. Donaldson hadn't tallied a hit in his last 10 at-bats going into Friday night's game against New York and was hitting just .127 for the season. His on-base percentage is even lower at .125, as Donaldson has yet to draw a walk for Oakland.
Melvin thinks Inge's return can do much to help turn around the A's struggling offense, pointing to how the team was performing at the time of his injury.
"The new Christmas toy [Inge] broke real early, and certainly based on what he was doing, we were really starting to feel good about ourselves offensively," Melvin said. "He's one of the guys that takes pressure off some of the other guys in the lineup, just based on his presence alone."