Big Hurt not hurting so much

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Oakland A's designated hitter Frank Thomas, sidelined almost two months because of right quadriceps tendinitis, has been cleared to start a running program Friday.

Thomas resumed taking batting practice on the field before Monday night's game against Tampa Bay. He went on the 15-day disabled list May 29.

"I didn't feel anything," Thomas said. "That's great. I was cutting loose with no problems."

Oakland manager Bob Geren said the team will have a better indication when Thomas can return after he starts running again.

Mike Sweeney, who had surgery on both knees June 11, also took batting practice. It hasn't been determined when he will begin a running program.

Third baseman Eric Chavez, out with a right shoulder injury, will resume baseball activities when Oakland returns home Friday.

First baseman Wes Bankston was back in the lineup Monday. He didn't play Sunday, one day after leaving a game against the New York Yankees with body cramping.

Right-hander Joey Devine, rehabbing a right elbow injury, could throw to hitters Wednesday.

Also, the A's purchased the contract of infielder Brooks Conrad from Triple-A Sacramento and designated infielder Donnie Murphy for assignment.

Conrad was hitting .242 with 21 homers and 67 RBIs in 93 games for Sacramento. Murphy was 8 for 46 (.174) with one homer and seven RBIs in 16 games since returning from a right elbow injury.

SHORT HOPS -- Yankees All-Star catcher Jorge Posada went on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season Monday, and could be headed for season-ending surgery on his injured throwing shoulder. ... Mets closer Billy Wagner will have his tight left shoulder re-evaluated today to determine if there is an injury to his pitching arm. ... Red Sox slugger David Ortiz singled twice, walked and flied out Monday night in his first of three rehab appearances for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. Ortiz went 2 for 3 in his fourth minor-league game since he was sidelined May 30 because of a partial tear of the sheath that surrounds the tendon in his left wrist. ... Right-hander Rafael Soriano was activated by the Braves, who designated right-hander Vladimir Nunez for assignment. Soriano had been sidelined with right elbow inflammation since June 6.