A's face tough schedule after road stretch

TORONTO -- A banged-up A's team is finally heading home, but there's no rest for the weary.

Following a nine-game road swing with stops in Cleveland, Tampa and Toronto, the A's head west again for a challenging seven-game homestand with the Tigers and Angels, before hitting the road again for their fourth straight three-city trip that will put them in New York, Baltimore and Anaheim.

Less than two weeks later, they will go back to New York for an Interleague meeting with the Mets, followed by a pair of three-game series in Miami and Detroit.

Such routes hardly make sense. Yet, year after year, West Coast teams like the A's are subjected to them.

"It is difficult," said manager Bob Melvin. "It's on the schedule and you know it ahead of time, but it doesn't make it any easier. It seems like every time we travel, we're going to the east. It's five hours when we leave home, and five-plus when we come back.

"We're always going somewhere that's going to be three-plus to five hours. Couple that with three-city trips, where you're going somewhere, then you go somewhere else and fly right back through the place you started to get to somewhere else, it does take a toll on you."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.