SEATTLE – Coco Crisp and Jed Lowrie are not in the lineup for the Oakland A’s regular-season finale Sunday against the Mariners.
Manager Bob Melvin had said after the A’s clinched the American League West last Sunday that he would look to find rest for his front-line veterans before the postseason. Crisp and Lowrie get the day off even with Oakland on the heels of a four-day layoff before starting the American League Division Series.
“It’s always a balance with the time off (coming before the playoffs), but both those guys really do probably need the day,” Melvin said Sunday morning. “They’ve played a lot, and they’re two pretty important guys for us.”
Lowrie, the shortstop who had battled numerous injuries before this season, has played in 154 of the A’s 161 games to this point, second on the team only to Josh Donaldson’s 157 games played. Crisp, the veteran center fielder who has been such a driving force behind the A’s late-season push to the division title, had started all five games since the A’s clinched.
Chris Young is playing center and Sunday and taking Crisp’s spot at leadoff. Eric Sogard is spelling Lowrie at short.
Yoenis Cespedes won’t play Sunday as he nurses a sore right shoulder. Melvin reported that Cespedes felt a bit better Sunday but the hope is that four days without games will have the left fielder ready for Game 1 of the ALDS on Friday against Detroit.
“We will have some days when we have pitchers throwing to hitters (in workouts),” Melvin said. “Hopefully he’s ready to do that.”
Melvin threw his support behind Donaldson as a player who should get legitimate MVP consideration. Melvin was more emphatic about the topic than previously when he had been asked about his third baseman. Donaldson is hitting .301 with 24 home runs and a team-leading 93 RBI and has been outstanding defensively.
“He’s meant a lot to our team, and our team is going to the postseason,” Melvin said. “The way he’s gone about it, the durability , the defense, the all-around play, the clutch hitting, all of that, would suggest we might be in a different spot had we not had him perform like this.”