OAKLAND -- For a while now, A's manager Bob Melvin has been talking about the much-needed reinforcements coming to bolster his weakened lineup. On Monday, the help finally begins to arrive.
Melvin said on Sunday that third baseman Brandon Inge, who was on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Friday and Saturday, will travel with the team to Minnesota after Sunday's series finale against New York and will be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Monday, the first day he's eligible to come off. Inge will be in the lineup for the first game of the series with the Twins.
The 35-year-old has been out since May 13 with a right groin strain, but if his performance in Triple-A is any indication, Inge appears to be fully healthy again. After collecting a hit and a walk on Friday night, he erupted for five hits in five at-bats for Sacramento on Saturday, including a grand slam and a solo home run. All told, he tallied seven RBIs.
"I tested it pretty good there," said Inge. "I guess with the groin injury, it's new for me, I've never really had one before. I still have to be a little cautious no matter what, but so far, so good. Felt comfortable at the plate, I tested it a few times in certain running situations. It feels good to be back."
Inge's return should boost an Oakland offense that came into Sunday having scored just eight runs in the first five games of the team's homestand. The A's ranked last in the Major Leagues in hitting with a .210 batting average entering the finale vs. New York.
Signed by the club on April 30 after being released by Detroit, Inge is hitting .227 for the A's but was 7-for-23 with four home runs and 16 RBIs over his last six games, including a walk-off grand slam against Toronto on May 8.
"It'll be great to get him back," Melvin said. "Any of the guys that we're getting back, certainly, [are] guys with track records, guys that are important to us in the middle of the lineup, guys that we expect to drive in runs for us. I think everybody's excited about getting those guys back, and it starts [Monday] with Inge."
Young players in the A's lineup, like Josh Donaldson, have struggled while filling in for Inge, and Melvin has talked about how the veteran's presence in the order helps alleviate the pressure on the younger players.