Yonder Alonso is having a career year right before he hits the open market. That’s good news for the soft-spoken, hard-working first baseman. (Emma Marie Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Yonder Alonso available off bench against Red Sox

OAKLAND — Originally, the Oakland Athletics had planned to play it cautious with Yonder Alonso (left knee soreness) and hold him out through Monday’s off day. Instead, before Sunday’s finale with the Boston Red Sox, manager Bob Melvin announced that the first baseman had progressed to the point where he is available off the bench.

“It’s not a full game today,” Melvin said. “We feel comfortable maybe bringing him in at some point.”

Alonso has already tallied eight home runs in May even though he hasn’t played since last Thursday in Seattle.

Doolittle set for 25-pitch bullpen on Wednesday

Out since April 30 with a strained left shoulder, Sean Doolittle is taking steps toward returning to the A’s bullpen.

“Doolittle threw actually a flat ground and then 15 pitches off the mound,” Melvin said. “So, it ended up being a 15-pitch bullpen. On Wednesday he’ll throw 25 pitches. So, now he’s on the mound and hopefully that’s the first step in getting him back.”

Melvin on power surge: ‘That’s a nice little dynamic to have’

Advised that his club now leads the American League, Melvin admitted that he was caught off guard.

“Oh, are we now?” Melvin said. “I knew we were close.”

Oakland has connected on eight long balls in the process of winning three in a row over the Red Sox.

“It means that we have some depth as far as that goes,” Melvin said. “We’re not just relying on Yonder and Khris [Davis]. It’s everybody who’s got some power through the lineup. So, as far as a team, knowing that too, you have the ability to score quickly. You’re not always going to hit homers — you have to do other things well — but that’s a nice little dynamic to have knowing that one swing could put a couple of runs up on the board.”

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