OAKLAND -- Coco Crisp stood at the plate down in the A’s bullpen Saturday, tracking pitches as Jason Hammel threw his side session.
It was the rare sight of Crisp doing any sort of real baseball activity since his troublesome neck has kept him out of the lineup for an extended period. Saturday will mark the seventh game Crisp will miss out of the past eight. He received an MRI on his strained neck Monday, and manager Bob Melvin has remained hopeful that Crisp will return soon.
But Crisp has yet to swing the bat in batting practice, and Melvin said Crisp can’t get back in the lineup until he’s able to at least take some swings in the cage.
“Once he starts doing some baseball activity, we’ll have a better timetable,” Melvin said before Saturday’s game against Kansas City.
But it’s getting to the point taht Crisp has missed enough time to where it’s almost worth it for the A’s to just place him on the disabled list and free up a roster spot. They’ve held off on doing so, as Crisp has proven to be a guy who can be unavailable one day and suddenly ready to go the next.
“He’s shown he doesn’t need any rehab, and when he’s been off for a period of time he’s been able to come back and be productive right away,” Melvin said. “When he turns the corner, he turns the corner pretty quickly and then he’s back in the lineup.”
But Melvin also admitted that having an unavailable player on the active roster makes for some challenges. It leaves the A’s with a three-man bench, which means Melvin has to be more selective with his substituting, especially early in games.
In other news, Melvin was asked if Stephen Vogt’s foot injury might keep him from catching for the rest of the season.
“There’s always that chance, yeah,” Melvin said. “We hope that’s not the case, but there’s always that chance.”
Note: Infielder Jake Elmore, designated for assignment a few days ago, was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds.