OAK@TB: Lowrie knocks a single to get A's on the boar

OAKLAND -- A's shortstop Jed Lowrie was scratched from Sunday's lineup against the Orioles because of a neck strain that occurred overnight while he was sleeping.

Adam Rosales got the start at shortstop in place of Lowrie, who deemed himself available off the bench as a right-handed hitter, with his neck mostly being an issue only when he turns his head to the right side.

"If it was a night game," said Lowrie, "it probably would've had time to loosen up, but it's just so stiff right now that we want to make sure it doesn't get worse. This is the first time I've ever woken up like this, and I knew right away. Even driving in, I couldn't turn my head to check the other lanes."

Manager Bob Melvin was going to do his best to refrain from using the infielder on Sunday.

"With an injury like that, you'd like to rest him, but you never know how it plays out," Melvin said. "He's the only other infielder on the bench, so if something were to happen to someone else, you'd see him out there."

Lowrie, batting .344 on the season, was confident he'd be back in the starting lineup for Monday's series opener vs. the Angels.

Cespedes ready to stabilize middle of A's lineup

OAK@LAA: Cespedes' solo shot pads A's lead in seventh

OAKLAND -- There's no exaggerating the type of influence Yoenis Cespedes has on the A's lineup when the numbers speak for themselves.

Since the slugger arrived in Oakland, the A's are 90-48 when he plays and just 17-32 when he doesn't. Most recently, they went just 4-10 while Cespedes was on the disabled list rehabbing his injured left hand.

So there was no denying the team's relief upon his return on Sunday, when he went 2-for-5 with a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth in Oakland's 10-inning win over the Orioles.

"Whenever you're playing the way we're playing," manager Bob Melvin said, "it's nice to get your No. 4 hitter back in the lineup."

That's exactly where Cespedes was for the club's final contest of a four-game set with the Orioles. To make room for him on the active roster, the A's designated outfielder Casper Wells for assignment -- just six days after acquiring Wells from the Blue Jays for $100,000.

Oakland has 10 days to trade Wells, release him or pass him through waivers. He's already been designated by three teams in the first month of the season.

"Unfortunately, [it's] a difficult month for him with what he's having to deal with on the business side of baseball," Melvin said. "But he's a good guy and he fit in well the short time he was here. If he were to get through [waivers], we'd certainly love to have him, because we value him. The other side of it is that you always want to see a guy potentially get a big league job, so I'm not sure how it's going to play out for him and his future here."

In the meantime, the A's will simply enjoy having a familiar face back in town.

"[Cespedes] takes pressure off everybody in the lineup," Melvin said. "Even when he's not swinging well, I think guys have less pressure on themselves. The other team is always aware of where he is, and therefore to have someone like that to impact the lineup, it helps everyone else out."

A's to skip Anderson in rotation; Straily gets start

OAK@TB: Anderson sprains ankle on a pitch in first

OAKLAND -- The A's will hold back ailing lefty Brett Anderson from his scheduled Monday start against the visiting Angels in favor of right-hander Dan Straily.

Anderson, who sprained his right ankle nearly two weeks ago, is still bothered by the injury, so the club opted to give him extra time away from the mound without putting him on the disabled list to ensure his ankle heals completely.

"It's getting better each day," Anderson said. "I think skipping one time through will just give me the insurance to make sure it's right. It should clear up all the soreness so I can just get back to pitching. Everyone thought it would be the best decision moving forward."

Anderson felt pain for a short time during his last start against the Red Sox, who tagged him for six runs on eight hits in just four innings, but it has escalated slightly since then.

"Any time [your landing foot is] compromised, it's going to affect you," Anderson said.

"It's one of those things where you know it's not normal. If you're going bad, you want to get out there right away to correct it, but I think in the long run, trying to get this out of the way and not have any lasting effects so I can get back to pitching like I know I can is the right thing to do."

The lefty has a 7.23 ERA through his first five outings, but he's not the only starter struggling. Every A's starter not named Bartolo Colon has combined for a 6.61 ERA and 3-10 record.

Straily, back for a second stint with Oakland, has allowed just two earned runs with 20 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings spanning three starts for Triple-A Sacramento. The A's are expected to option right-hander Jesse Chavez to Sacramento once Straily's promotion is made official Monday.

Worth noting

• Outfielder Josh Reddick, hitting .155, received a rare day off against a right-hander on Sunday. That's because the right-hander, Baltimore's Miguel Gonzalez, entered the day with drastic splits against righties and lefties.

Through Gonzalez's first four starts, right-handers hit .341 with four home runs off him, while left-handers batted .190 with no home runs.

"Based on the fact Reddick's not swinging his best," Melvin said, "we wanted to get another right-hander in there. He'll be back in there tomorrow."