The club recalled Donaldson in conjunction with Brandon Inge heading to the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, and manager Bob Melvin said that Donaldson would be the primary third baseman during Inge's absence.
"He's our best option at this point," Melvin said. "We'll move [Adam Rosales] around, and he'll play different positions like he's capable of doing. But the best way to do this right now is with Josh as the guy that's going to be the primary third baseman."
This marks Donaldson's third stint with Oakland this season. He had appeared in 28 games for the A's before being recalled, posting an average of just .153. He hit one home run and drove in seven runs, while striking out 26 times.
But, Donaldson's numbers had been strong with Triple-A Sacramento. In 51 games, he hit .335 with 12 doubles, 13 home runs and 45 RBIs. His on-base percentage was .402 at Triple-A compared to a .160 mark in the big leagues.
When Donaldson was sent down in mid-June, the A's were seven games under .500 and nine games out of first place in the American League West. He returns to a second-place team eight games over .500 and 6 1/2 out of first. With the A's playing so well in the second half, Donaldson wasn't anticipating a return.
"I say I wasn't expecting it just because the team's been playing well," Donaldson said. "I knew that I kind of wasn't in the plans right now, because of what was going on. But when I kind of heard about the news [about] Inge, after he [injured] his shoulder during [Saturday's] game, they sat me out two games. So I kind of figured if something was going to happen that I was going to be the guy.
"But you never really know. Uncertainty is one of those things, and you never know in this game. I've never been a guy to count your chickens before they hatch. I was not necessarily satisfied, but I had the mentality of I was going to sit here and play every day in Triple-A, finish out the year here. If something happened in September, so be it, but I wasn't expecting it by any means. It was good to actually get the shot."
Donaldson made the team out of Spring Training, and his versatility has always been a big part of his game. But, he said he hasn't been catching much of late, and third base has been his focus.
"It's just been one of those things where the more and more I'm over there, I feel more comfortable," Donaldson said of third base. "It's become more instinctual. It's something that I don't really have to think too much about before the play."