OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -The Oakland Athletics activated first baseman Dan Johnson from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday and optioned catcher Adam Melhuse to Triple-A Sacramento.
The move leaves designated hitter Mike Piazza as the backup to starting catcher Jason Kendall. Piazza has played 1,629 games at catcher in his career, but manager Bob Geren said in spring training that he hoped not to use him there.
That might change with Milton Bradley and Mark Kotsay on the disabled list, and Nick Swisher and Bobby Kielty nursing injuries. The short-handed A's decided they needed Johnson's bat in the lineup and he started at first base Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners.
Johnson had a strong rookie season for Oakland in 2005, batting .275 with 15 homers and 58 RBIs in 109 games but struggled from the start last season. He went 0-for-27 at the start of last season and hit .234 overall, spending most of the second half in the minors.
Johnson opened the season on the disabled list with a torn labrum in his left hip. He stayed in Arizona for extended spring training before going to Sacramento for two games of a rehab assignment.
Melhuse appeared in only three games this year, going 1-for-6.

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