Coco Crisp comes off DL to start in CF; Eric Patterson designated for assignment

So much for Coco Crisp spending a full 10-day period in the minor leagues. The switch-hitter was activated from the disabled list and is leading off and playing center field tonight against the Reds. Outfielder Eric Patterson was designated for assignment to make room for Crisp on the 25-man roster. Patterson was out of options, so he couldn’t simply be sent to Triple-A. I can’t say I’m surprised that he was the outfielder to go. If he clears waivers, the A’s could send him to the minors. He’s in the same boat that Jake Fox was in. And speaking of Fox …. you probably know he was traded to Baltimore today for minor league reliever Ross Wolf. You’ll read more about that in tomorrow’s A’s notebook at www.contracostatimes.com and www.insidebayarea.com.

How much impact will Crisp make? How long will he stay healthy? The answer to that second question will help answer the first one. But the A’s need some sort of spark. They were in a very similar scenario when Crisp came off the DL on May 21, and they looked terrific with him in the lineup. But that only lasted two days, as he suffered a strained rib-cage muscle. He’s missed 28 games since then, but hit .591 (13-for-22) in six games for Triple-A Sacramento, a sign that he was definitely ready to return from the DL. “I was hoping to be up here earlier because I felt good,” Crisp said. “… We’ll see how this stint holds up. Hopefully I can finish the season without any more major injuries. We’ll see how that goes.”

How will manager Bob Geren handle his outfield rotation? Tonight the A’s start Conor Jackson-Crisp-Ryan Sweeney from left to right, with Rajai Davis sitting out. Gabe Gross gets the start at DH over Jack Cust, since Gross is batting .346 (9-for-26) lifetime against Reds starter Bronson Arroyo. Geren was asked how he’ll dole out outfield playing time. “I’m just going to try to put the best lineup out that I can each day,” Geren said. “Try to rest certain guys so they don’t get over-used, and play other guys so they don’t get stale.”

I see Sweeney taking more days off than usual just to rest his sore knees. Davis could play right field in those situations, putting Jackson, Crisp and Davis in the outfield together. Perhaps they could even DH Sweeney every now and then if they want. And if Cust doesn’t start hitting for power, perhaps Jackson could see time at DH and Davis could slide to left field.

Again, this is assuming that Crisp can stay healthy. A’s fans have to be crossing their fingers on that one …

The lineups:
A’s — Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Jackson LF, Suzuki C, Sweeney RF, Kouzmanoff 3B, Gross DH, Ellis 2B, Pennington SS; Braden LHP.’

Reds — Cabrera SS, Phillips 2B, Votto 1B, Rolen 3B, Gomes DH, Bruce RF, Stubbs CF, Heisey LF, Miller C; Arroyo RHP.

Joe Stiglich