OAKLAND – Coco Crisp returned to the A’s lineup Tuesday as the designated hitter after leaving Monday’s game with a contusion on his right shin.
Crisp fouled a ball off his leg in the bottom of the sixth Monday, then walked gingerly off the field after that at-bat and left the game. Crisp declined to comment on his injuries, but he obviously arrived at the Coliseum on Tuesday feeling good enough to at least hit.
Chris Young is starting in center field, Crisp’s normal spot, and Michael Choice is in right field for his first major league defensive start. Choice was the DH on Monday in his big league debut.
“(Crisp) was a little sore today, which was to be expected, but he’s good to go in the DH role,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Left-hander Tommy Milone will serve as a long man out of the bullpen in his return to the big league club, according to Melvin.
The A’s promoted Milone and relievers Evan Scribner and Pat Neshek before Tuesday’s game. To make room for Neshek on the 40-man roster, reliever Hideki Okajima was designated for assignment.
The addition of three relievers gives Melvin a surplus of options, but he said time will tell how the extra arms are used.
He does consider Milone best suited as a long reliever. Figure it will be an adjustment for Milone, who has made all 60 of his career major league appearances in a starting role.
Milone is 10-9 with a 4.28 ERA in 24 starts for Oakland this season, but he was optioned to the minors twice in August. His most recent demotion came Wednesday, but it was clear all along the A’s planned to bring him back once the minor league season ended.
So Melvin currently has an 11-man bullpen to work with. That gives him options if a starter gets in trouble early in a game.
“You can cut an inning off with a short guy, then go back to a long guy (to eat up innings),” Melvin said. “ There’s a lot of things you can do with an expanded bullpen.”
Catcher Derek Norris (fractured left big toe) is back with the team after playing three rehab games with Triple-A Sacramento, where he went 6 for 14 with two homers. He started two games at catcher and one at DH and described the pain in his toe as a “tolerable annoyance.”
How he feels today and Wednesday will determine whether he comes off the D.L. on Thursday, the first day he’s eligible.