BOSTON -- Deemed the everyday guy at first base at the time of his activation from the disabled list on April 9, a struggling Daric Barton is gradually losing that distinction, as Kila Ka'aihue continues to garner at-bats at the position.
Manager Bob Melvin said he's trying to find the two left-handers the best matchups. Ka'aihue, who's batting .412 against lefties, started the second of a three-game series against the Red Sox and southpaw Felix Doubront on Tuesday.
"It's a tough one right now," Melvin said. "To this point, Kila's had the better at-bats. He really has swung the bat well for a guy you didn't envision being in this spot right now. We really look for Daric to get a little more comfortable here and try to get him some matchups to get his confidence up and get him going. It's kind of a day-to-day thing with those two right now."
Barton has just five hits in his last 33 at-bats after going 4-for-16 over his first five contests. Overall, he's batting just .184 on the season, with a dismal .286 on-base percentage. He has seven walks to his name, but he also has 11 strikeouts -- one of which came Monday night with the bases loaded on a 2-2 pitch for the third out in the seventh inning of an 11-6 A's loss.
"There were some instances yesterday maybe he could be more aggressive, but if he draws a walk in that bases-loaded situation, too, it's another run and another baserunner," Melvin said. "You don't want someone to get completely out of their game, but to an extent know when there's a time to be more aggressive."
Ka'aihue figures to see more playing time should Barton's struggles, which have extended to his defensive game, continue. Barton, normally an above-average defender, has had troubles snagging throws in the dirt he'd normally have easily.
"When he's playing really well, he probably picks most of those," Melvin said.
"Confidence goes a long way in every facet of your game," he continued. "He's just not there yet completely in what he's doing, and maybe it filters into your defense some. We feel like he's going to get there."
Sinus infection keeps Crisp out of lineup
BOSTON -- Sidelined for seven games due to illness in April, Coco Crisp found himself back in the doctor's office on the first day of May with a sinus infection, leading to another missed start Tuesday.
Manager Bob Melvin said the illness, which is separate from the virus that plagued Crisp for much of the last couple of weeks, surfaced Monday and that "as the game progressed last night, he looked worse to me."
"He's had a tough little go," Melvin said. "It's a pretty good sinus infection. With the weather on top of that, I just couldn't run him out there today. He didn't fight me on it. He normally fights me, but this time not as much as usual. My feeling is it's probably the right thing to do today."
Oakland's skipper ensured that Crisp was checked out "like you wouldn't believe" during the period he was suffering from the virus that led to an inner ear infection, noting that it's just a head cold this time and that the outfielder will likely be back in action for Wednesday's series finale, before resting on Thursday's off-day.
With Crisp out of the mix, as has been the case 32 percent of the season, Melvin utilized newcomer Brandon Inge in the second spot of the lineup, with Jonny Gomes taking over defensive duties in left field. Elsewhere in the lineup, Anthony Recker received his first start of the season at designated hitter. Recker entered the day 1-for-7 in his starting assignments, but he went 2-for-3 on Monday night after taking over catcher duties for Kurt Suzuki in the middle innings.
"He's swung the bat pretty well," Melvin said. "I think he deserves it. We really haven't been able to find him some consistent at-bats, and he comes in the game last night and has some good ones."
It marked the first time of this season Recker and Suzuki appeared in the same lineup, a scenario that never would have unfolded before Inge's arrival Monday. Inge has made 376 career appearances behind the plate, though he purposely left behind his catcher's mitt in Detroit.
"I don't care if he did or he didn't, I'll find him one," Melvin joked. "We have plenty catcher's gloves around here."
Weeks' offensive struggles carry into field
BOSTON -- Before leading off Tuesday's game with a line-drive single, Jemile Weeks had gone hitless in three consecutive games for the first time in his career. Consider those struggles a possible factor in the second baseman's recent miscues in the field, manager Bob Melvin said.
Weeks doubled his season error total -- his four miscues are most among all American League second basemen -- on Monday night by committing two and on Tuesday, he engaged in a talk with his manager about it.
"Off game for him, and he knows that," Melvin said. "He was pretty disappointed in his defense last night. Your offensive struggles can play into your defense some -- not an excuse, obviously -- but when you're not playing and swinging your bat to your ability, sometimes that frustrates you and it goes out there with you on the field. It's not OK, but it's human nature."
Weeks, like a handful of teammates, has been below the Mendoza Line for the majority of the young season. He entered Tuesday batting .181, fifth lowest in the AL, and .071 with runners in scoring position, representing the third worst mark. Last year, his lowest single-month average was .288, in August.
Though the numbers aren't there, Melvin believes the approach is. Several of Weeks' at-bats have resulted in well-hit balls -- right into a glove.
"That adds to the frustration, when you're not getting on base and getting the numbers he's used to looking at here," Melvin said. "I know he's frustrated. I talked to him today. Each and every time you have a good at-bat and have nothing to show for it, it adds to the frustration. He doesn't get down. He gets upset, frustrated, but he doesn't get down on himself, even through a tough month."
Representative files claim against Cespedes
BOSTON -- The man who helped Yoenis Cespedes land a four-year, $36 million contract with the A's has reportedly filed an arbitration claim against the outfielder for breach of contract.
According to ESPNDeportes, Edgar Mercedes said Cespedes agreed to pay 17 percent of his contract to Mercedes' Born To Play Academy for representation, training and food while he and his family were staying in the Dominican Republic after he defected from Cuba.
Moreover, Mercedes claims Cespedes owes another five percent to his agent, Adam Katz of the Wasserman Group. Cespedes declined to comment on the report Tuesday.
"Yoenis has not complied with the agreement, which obliges us to resort to Dominican law to force him to do it," Mercedes told ESPNDeportes. "I regret having to do this, but you must set an example."