OAKLAND -- A's shortstop Jed Lowrie was held out of the starting lineup against the Tigers on Thursday because of ongoing neck soreness, opening up an opportunity for Nick Punto to get a rare start against a right-hander.
Lowrie, who missed two games last week because of the same issue, had started four consecutive games prior to Thursday. He appeared as a pinch-hitter in the ninth on Thursday and grounded out to end the game in Oakland's 5-4 loss.
"He's all right," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "He's still dealing a little bit with his neck issue. This was a good time … to give Jed a day off, after a night game, and get Punto in the game."
Punto, who had not played since Friday, was available off the bench the previous two days but did not see any action.
"Body feels good," said Punto. "Looking forward to getting back out there and playing."
Thursday marked just the seventh start made by Punto against a right-hander this season. He hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning for his first home run of the season.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.