30 A's in 30 Days: Derek Norris
Coco Crisp returns to his usual postion in center field Friday after playing the A's-Angels series opener at DH. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- Early Thursday afternoon, before the A's began a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels and a 10-games-in-11-days homestand, Coco Crisp spied the lineup card posted outside Oakland's clubhouse.
"D.H.?" Crisp said with a grin. "Cool."
Twenty hours later, Crisp was in his natural center field and A's manager Bob Melvin had posted his 87th different lineup in 103 days. One might think the A's would prefer a constant in the lineup, as baseball players are creatures of habit. But no one's really complaining.
"They know the night before whether they're going to play or not," Melvin said. "Sometimes I'll make an adjustment, at least with Coco, based on DH or center field.
"With Coco playing as hard as he does and sustaining some injuries, if we can get him off the field from time to time…we'll still have his bat and his energy at the top of the lineup. Where maybe we're not running him out there in the field, seven, eight, nine times in a row. Because when he's out there a lot, and as hard as he plays and as slight as he is, he'll get an injury every now and then."
It's all about communication. And if you remember, that was the players' gripes under the previous manager, Bob Geren.
The 87th different lineup of the season Friday night has Brandon Moss hitting cleanup.
"They're used to it by now," Melvin said of the always evolving lineup. "And that's something we talked about in spring and early in the season, Look, don't worry about where you're hitting in the lineup. You know you're going to play. We'll mix it up some based on how guys are swinging at the time, based on who the matchup is, the pitcher.
"They understand that and I've heard no complaints as far as that goes…at least to my face."
There was no real update on concussed catcher John Jaso, who was placed on the 7-day disabled list Thursday.
"There probably won't be an update for a few days," Melvin said. "He felt the same yesterday and until there are any significant signs of him feeling better it's just going to remain the same, as far as how he was feeling."
A's special advisor Phil Garner, a managerial mentor of Melvin's, is at the Coliseum and was helping the A's during batting practice.
"He's worked awfully hard with Josh Donaldson since we moved him over to third, along with Mike Gallego and Chip Hale," Melvin said. "So whenever we can get (Garner) here it's a good thing."
Melvin, who served as Garner's bench coach in Milwaukee in 1999, said Garner was "kind of ahead of his time" for putting guy who were not exactly fleet of foot at the top of the lineup.
The thinking? They could get on base and that was the point, right?
Donaldson was to be presented with the MLBPAA's "Heart and Hustle Award" for the A's by CSN California broadcaster Ray Fosse.
According to the release, the award "honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game."