ST. PETERSBURG, Fla -- The A's, who are last in the Major Leagues in batting average (.212), on-base percentage (.280), slugging percentage (.332) and batting with runners in scoring position (.189), took extra batting practice Saturday afternoon.
But manager Bob Melvin cautioned reporters not to read too much into the early session.
"We haven't done very well offensively, there's no secret to that," Melvin said. "But we've had a lot of guys out for early batting practice this year. I wouldn't say this was anything odd. We're working to do the best we can."
The A's also rank last in the American League in runs scored (84) and have scored seven runs or fewer in every game this year and 44 consecutive games dating back to Sept. 10 of last season -- the longest such streak in Oakland history.
Yet, they are in second place in the American League West.
"Based on the fact we haven't swung the bats great, our record's not horrible for that," Melvin said. "We're still doing some decent things other than hitting.
"We're third in the league in pitching, and we're last in hitting. That kind of speaks for itself."
Melvin may 'tinker' with rotation due to off-day
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla -- A's manager Bob Melvin insisted Saturday, "I don't have any changes planned" in the team's starting rotation.
"But," Melvin added, "anything can change in this game."
And, with an off-day on the A's schedule Monday and Tyson Ross struggling, Melvin admitted he plans to "tinker with the rotation."
Jarrod Parker, who is scheduled to start on Tuesday against Toronto, has already joined the rotation and there is speculation Brad Peacock, acquired from the Nationals during the offseason in the Gio Gonzalez trade, could be the next starter to be called up.
Following Friday night's 7-2 shellacking, in which Ross lasted just 3 1/3 innings, his briefest stint of the year, allowed seven runs on nine hits, and was called for a balk with two runners on base, Melvin said he hadn't thought about Ross' future status.
"I thought it all revolved around his fastball. It looked like [Kurt Suzuki] had a tough time corralling it," Melvin said. "When he was calling some pitches, they weren't getting there. When he [Suzuki] was calling away, he [Ross] was missing sometimes inside."
In his last two starts, covering just 7 1/3 innings, Ross has been ripped for 20 hits and 16 earned runs. He admitted he has work to do in order to improve before he makes his next start.
"I have to work on keeping the ball down in the zone and focus on getting the first pitch over for a strike," said Ross, the first A's starter since Ben Sheets in 2010 to allow seven or more runs in back-to-back starts.
"I need to do a better job of getting ahead of the hitters," he said. "My whole game plan out there is to get ahead, get a nice ground ball for the defense."
Lefty-packed bullpen has performed well
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla -- Most managers hope to have two left handed relievers in their bullpen and often have to settle for one. A's manager Bob Melvin currently has four: Brian Fuentes, Jerry Blevins, Pedro Figueroa, and Jordan Norberto.
The A's didn't plan it that way. That's just how things have shaken out.
"They all deserve to be here, but at some point, we're going to have to add a right-hander," Melvin said Saturday. "We have some resources that have to get ironed out at Triple-A.
"We have to have left-handers who can get some right-handed hitters out," Melvin added.
Oakland's bullpen, as a whole, has held opposing hitters to a .215 batting average, third best in the American League, and has an ERA of 2.96, fourth best in the league.
Daric Barton was in the starting lineup at first base Saturday while Kila Ka'aihue moved to DH.
"He's a guy we expect to pick it up and do well for us," manager Bob Melvin said of Barton. "We had planned to play him today [with right hander Jeremy Hellickson starting for the Rays] regardless."
Brandon Inge, who is hitting .133 since joining the A's and .114 for the year, was dropped from sixth to ninth in the batting order Saturday.
"He's a guy who doesn't care where he hits, and he's capable of hitting in just about any spot in the order. It is more about the other guys that about him."
Josh Donaldson, who was sent to Triple-A last month because of his struggles at the plate as the A's starting third baseman, was batting .500 with three homers and 10 RBIs in his first six games at Sacramento.
Jim Hawkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.