ARLINGTON, Texas – Persisting neck pain is hindering A's center fielder Coco Crisp to the point where he'll return to the Bay Area to get examined.
A team spokesman confirmed that Crisp would not accompany the team to Houston for a three-game series that begins Monday night against the Astros.
Crisp was out of the lineup Sunday for the second time in this three-game series against the Texas Rangers, and he's missed frequent time over the past two-plus months as manager Bob Melvin has been pro-active in getting Crisp rest.
Crisp’s neck has bothered him ever since a May 7 game when he slammed into the center field wall while making a catch. The discomfort comes and goes, but Melvin said the neck has been more of an issue for Crisp in recent days.
“It’s still the same thing he’s been dealing with,” the manager said before Sunday night's game. “It’s just a lingering thing. Sometimes it’s an issue, sometimes it feels good.”
So Craig Gentry started in center Sunday night, with catcher John Jaso taking Crisp’s spot as leadoff man against right-hander Miles Mikolas. Melvin said the A’s are reluctant to send Crisp to the 15-day disabled list – where he could benefit from extended rest – because there are days when Crisp comes in feeling absolutely fine. And Melvin wants him in the lineup on those days.
[A's LINEUP: Gentry in CF, Lowrie back in]
But with Crisp now leaving the team to get checked out, a trip to the D.L. seems like a stronger possibility.
“It might just be one little thing that triggers it, and potentially not even a playing thing,” Melvin said. “Just any movement can trigger it. Rest is the best thing, yet there are times when it feels really good and it’s not an issue. And other times it’s pretty significant where he has trouble moving his head.”
In other news, second baseman Alberto Callaspo arrived at Globe Life Park about 2 ½ hours before game time after being activated from the DL. Callaspo played a night game for Single-A Stockton on Saturday night, then caught an early flight from San Francisco to Dallas on Sunday.
He’s not in Sunday’s lineup, and with the left-handed hitting Eric Sogard having come to life offensively in recent games, the A’s must decide how to divide the playing time at second base against right-handers. Nick Punto, a switch hitter as is Callaspo, has been playing second against left-handers.
[RELATED: A's reinstate Callaspo from DL]
Melvin said it will be an ongoing decision against right-handers between Callaspo and Sogard, depending partly on who’s swinging the hotter bat. Callaspo has also seen time at first base against left-handed pitchers, and he could play there in Houston with the Astros scheduled to throw lefties against the A’s on Monday and Wednesday.
As for Sogard, he credits his recent resurgence at the plate to a more simplified approach.
“The All-Star break was nice for me, to let my mind and body relax,” Sogard said. “I was able to come back, hit the reset button.”