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Ben Zobrist in Oakland A's lineup as designated hitter

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Zobrist appeared as a pinch hitter in Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Angels after being sidelined since April 19.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Athletics infielder-outfielder Ben Zobrist was named as the designated hitter for Friday night's contest against the Houston Astros. It will be his first start since April 19, a game that he exited on defense with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning with what the A's called "left knee soreness."

Zobrist received a cortisone shot earlier this week, and he told MLB.com's Jane Lee the knee was " 'getting better every day,' ... but the knee "doesn't feel 100 percent" three days after he received a cortisone shot."

With Zobrist starting as the designated hitter, Billy Butler will make his first appearance at first base for the Athletics after appearing as the DH in all of the team's first 17 games. This was the longest streak by an Athletic at designated hitter since Frank Thomas played 24 consecutive games at DH from August 1 to 25, 2008.

Marcus Semien moves up in the order, leading off against left-handed Astros starter Dallas Keuchel after batting eighth or ninth every game. Craig Gentry will bat eighth, the first time he is not leading off in a game started by an opposing left-hander.