TORONTO -- While Cliff Pennington's health is not improving, the A's desire to add a shortstop to their roster by the Trade Deadline on July 31 is only intensifying.
Over the last 48 hours, Pennington -- stationed on the disabled list with left elbow tendinitis -- has remained status quo, according to head trainer Nick Paparesta, and if progress isn't made by Thursday, the A's plan to send him back to the doctor.
Pennington's health, though, will not be the deciding factor in the A's decision to add an infielder, given that it was his season-long offensive struggles that influenced Oakland officials to seek outside help in the first place.
On Tuesday, the A's were reportedly linked to Marlins infielder and three-time All-Star Hanley Ramirez, who can play both shortstop and third base. Miami is reportedly seeking top-notch youngsters in return for Ramirez, who is making $15 million this season. Another $15.5 million is owed to him in 2013, with $16 million coming to him in 2014.
Though the A's are currently owners of the lowest payroll in baseball, they do have money to spend and, more importantly, the prospects -- particularly pitching -- to deal away to make such a trade happen. Entering Tuesday, the 28-year-old Ramirez was hitting .247 with 14 home runs and 47 RBIs in 92 games this season.
The A's front office is notoriously quiet around this time of year, providing no comment on any speculation involving potential trade targets. Manager Bob Melvin, meanwhile, continually states he only wants to focus on his current squad.
"I like the 25 guys here," he said on Tuesday. "We've made some changes over the course of the season to try and enhance deficiencies we've had. ... We're not looking into August and September right now. You can't help but hear the talk and notice where you are in the standings, but that doesn't take away from our focus on today."