HOUSTON -- With All-Star ballots already circulating every Major League stadium, it's not too early to start thinking about selections for the annual July affair, says A's manager Bob Melvin.
Melvin's A's haven't sent a position player to the Midsummer Classic since 2003, when catcher Ramon Hernandez appeared on the roster. But he thinks they have a player worthy of a nod this year.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson entered Sunday batting .322 with a team-leading .398 on-base percentage, 30 RBIs and 17 doubles to go along with seven home runs. Defensively, the converted catcher has been outstanding in 49 games at the hot corner.
"He continues to swing the bat well, and his confidence continues to grow," said Melvin. "You look at the numbers he's put up in the Minor Leagues in the past, and the ability's always been there. The only thing that hasn't been is the opportunity at the big league level. Now with the [Scott] Sizemore injury last year, it really opened up an opportunity for him.
"He struggled a little bit early last season and then the third time he came up he's seized the job, now all of a sudden he's been, to this point in time of the season, probably our most consistent player on both sides, offensively and defensively."
Melvin mentioned Jed Lowrie, too, as a player currently deserving of All-Star attention.
"We'd like to see as many guys as we possibly could," he said. "It'd be nice to break that string of just pitchers."
It could be Melvin himself pitching in the festivities -- that is, if slugger Yoenis Cespedes is invited to participate in the Home Run Derby. Oakland's manager would be the likely choice to throw to Cespedes, though he likes the idea of bringing in Cespedes' mother, a lefty on the Cuban Olympic team, for the job.
"They'd probably have to fly me in for that," he said, smiling, "but I don't aspire to throw in that."