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Pinder hopes to return by end of month

A's envision Zobrist-like role for versatile player; Graveman allows 4 ER in rehab start
Special to MLB.com

OAKLAND -- Chad Pinder took the next step in his rehab assignment Wednesday, and Oakland A's manager Bob Melvin sounds confident that Pinder will be back with the big league club by the end of the month.

Pinder has been on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring since June 24. He was unable to run for a few days and was limited in his activities before being cleared to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville earlier this week.

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OAKLAND -- Chad Pinder took the next step in his rehab assignment Wednesday, and Oakland A's manager Bob Melvin sounds confident that Pinder will be back with the big league club by the end of the month.

Pinder has been on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring since June 24. He was unable to run for a few days and was limited in his activities before being cleared to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville earlier this week.

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Melvin said that if all goes well, Pinder will rejoin the A's when the team comes back from its upcoming seven-game road trip to New York and Toronto on July 28.

"Hopefully, once we're out on the road and everything goes well with him, we'll have him when we return," Melvin said.

The only question seems to be where the A's will use Pinder when he does get back. He has played four positions with Oakland -- second base, shortstop, left field and right field -- along with occasionally handling the designated hitter duties.

Video: OAK@CWS: Pinder flashes the leather on double play

It's been much of the same during Pinder's rehab. He was the DH for Nashville on Tuesday and went 1-for-5. Pinder was slated to play at shortstop Wednesday and will continue to move around as he preps for his return.

"That's kind of the role we envision with him down the road. There aren't too many guys that give you that type of versatility," Melvin said. "It's one thing to say a guy can, but it's another to have a guy who actually can do it and produce in those situations. We were a little hesitant when we stuck him in the outfield for the first time, and man, he looked really comfortable, made some great throws, looked like he had some good reads.

"There aren't too many Ben Zobrists out there but we feel like he can be one of those guys."

Injury updates

• Right-hander Kendall Graveman allowed four runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings of his rehab start with Nashville on Wednesday. Graveman has been sidelined with a strained right shoulder since May 26.

• Catcher Bruce Maxwell was back in the A's lineup, two days after taking a pair of hard foul balls off his facemask. The second one dazed Maxwell, who rocked back after getting hit before falling to the ground. "That one hit me absolutely, 100 percent square," Maxwell said. "I was already kind of offset so I was like, 'OK, I'm going to sit here and take a minute.'"

Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the A's on Wednesday.

Oakland Athletics, Kendall Graveman, Chad Pinder