HOUSTON -- One day without Josh Donaldson is too many for the A's, who were happy to get their third baseman back in the lineup Monday after an injury scare.
Donaldson did not play in a loss to the Angels on Sunday after undergoing an MRI on his left knee, but the results showed no structural damage, and he managed just fine in an 8-2 win in Houston on Monday, collecting three hits, two of them doubles, and three RBIs. He also stole a base.
"He's the kind of guy that, even if he does have some dings," said manager Bob Melvin, "he's going to try to steal a bag."
"Most nights I'm feeling pretty dinged up, so it's not something I think about too much," Donaldson said. "It's just one of those things, you learn to play with that stuff.
"I hit third in the lineup, so I'd say that's pretty big for any team, so I try to go out there and give it everything I have every day."
Despite batting various injuries this year, none of which have put him on the disabled list, Donaldson has played in a team-high 126 games. And while his average is way down from last year -- 49 points lower -- he remains the A's best all-around player, providing spectacular defense and plenty of run production. He already has 87 RBIs, with five weeks to play, after posting 93 last year.
"I'll give him a massage on his knee if I have to just to get him in there," joked starter Jeff Samardzija, who struck out 10 in eight innings. "He's a tough dude. You can't say enough great things about Josh. Everything's already been said about him that you need to say. He's a gamer, comes to play every day. I love having him in there.
"He's such a big part of our lineup. Not only that, even if he goes 0-for-5, what he brings to the team is priceless. We want him in there every day. We also want him healthy, but it's tough to keep that kid out of the lineup."
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.