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Melvin will have to juggle lineup in NL parks

Melvin will have to juggle lineup in NL parks

OAKLAND -- With the A's set to embark on a six-game, seven-day road trip to Arizona and Colorado after Thursday's series finale against the Rangers, the lack of a designated hitter in the National League parks means manager Bob Melvin has some lineup juggling to do.

Melvin's main problem lies in the outfield. He usually rotates Jonny Gomes, Seth Smith and Collin Cowgill through the DH and left-field spots, depending on matchups and who's swinging a hot bat.

"They're going to get their at-bats," Melvin said on Thursday. "It might just be one. As far as a pinch-hit [situation], I think that the fact that they do DH lends to being able to pinch hit. And as I told them for the Giants series for our advance meeting, from the fourth or fifth inning on, every one of you guys has to be ready for whatever."

Interleague games can present a challenge for managers, as they have to suddenly get used to a different style that they may not be used to. Having been in the NL before, though -- spending five years as the D-backs' manager from 2005-09 -- Melvin does have plenty of experience running a game without a DH. He said that should come in handy in Arizona.

"Now, you get used to doing it a certain way, and you have to start thinking a little differently and ahead of time, [saying], 'OK, look, remember, don't miss out on this,'" Melvin said. "And each and every inning during a National League game, I'll go to the card and say, 'OK, here are the variables that come up,' just to make sure that something doesn't slip by me. That doesn't mean something won't slip by me, but you try to be overly prepared for that."

Of course, this particular Interleague series against the D-backs is more interesting than most, given Melvin's stint in Arizona, when he led the team to the NL West title in 2007. The A's manager said he got some of those feelings out of the way last season, when Oakland faced off with the Diamondbacks at the Coliseum.

But this will be Melvin's first time back as manager at Chase Field, and that will provide a new element.

"It is the first time back, and it's a great team that doesn't have the type of record that they're probably going to finish up with," Melvin said. "I spent some time there and have a lot of good friends there still. There's certainly something added to it."