Inge returns to A's lineup after DL stint

Inge returns to A's lineup after DL stint

MINNEAPOLIS -- The A's got back their prized early season acquisition on Monday, reinstating third baseman Brandon Inge from the disabled list and immediately inserting him into a lineup that scored just eight runs in six games on the team's last homestand.

At the time Inge went down with a right groin strain, he was 7-for-23 with four home runs -- two of them grand slams -- and 16 RBIs over his last six games. The A's hope for more of the same from the veteran, as they embark on a six-game road swing through Minnesota and Kansas City in the midst of a five-game losing streak.

Inge also went 6-for-7 in two rehab starts with Triple-A Sacramento, including a 5-for-5 night Saturday that saw him collect two home runs (one grand slam), two doubles, three runs and seven RBIs.

"Based on what he's done recently with us, to try to put those expectations on him all the time is probably unrealistic," manager Bob Melvin said. "Good defense, a professional hitter who can knock in some runs, I think that's what we expect out of him. To hit a grand slam every other day, that's probably a little too much to expect."

Oakland's .209 average going into Monday ranked last in the Majors, as did its .215 average with runners in scoring position, and the team's slugging (.332) and on-base percentage (.284) were second-to-last. Inge won't fix all, but Melvin and Co. hope his arrival is the first of many. Yoenis Cespedes is expected back by week's end, and Manny Ramirez could join the team as soon as Wednesday.

To make room on the 25-man roster for Inge, the A's optioned backup catcher Anthony Recker to Sacramento. Recker, whose role as Kurt Suzuki's understudy will be filled by Josh Donaldson, was batting .129 in 13 games, including 10 starts.

"Recker wasn't getting an opportunity to be successful for a guy that's used to playing a good portion of the time," Melvin said. "During the season, there will be times where some of the role players will need some at-bats, and that was the case with him."