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Andrew Bailey’s return is still down the road; Coco Crisp back in A’s lineup

Here’s the pregame lowdown from the Coliseum, as the A’s try to rebound from Saturday’s shellacking …

–As you’ve noticed, the news has been vague on closer Andrew Bailey ever since he’s been on the disabled list. It remains that way, though we got a little more detail today. Bailey threw another bullpen session this morning, and if he comes out of it OK, he’ll throw a batting practice session in a few days, possibly Wednesday. Manager Bob Geren said Bailey likely would throw a simulated game after that, and then the A’s would decide when he begins a minor league rehab assignment. How many outings would he need to be ready to join the major league club? “I don’t really know how many appearances I’ll need before pitching in the big leagues, but I’d say a few since I really didn’t have a spring training,” Bailey said. It’s easy to forget that Bailey pitched in just two exhibitions before suffering his forearm strain.

Long story short, it’s going to be at least two weeks before Bailey rejoins the A’s bullpen. So it’s up to Brian Fuentes and the other relievers to hold down the fort until then. Going hand in hand with that, the A’s would really benefit from their starters continuing to pitch deep in games. Entering today, Oakland’s starters were tied for fourth in the majors in innings pitched (172 2/3).

–Coco Crisp returns to the leadoff spot after missing three games with tightness in his left quadriceps. David DeJesus is sitting against left-hander Matt Harrison and DH Hideki Matsui was dropped to the sixth spot. Andy LaRoche, despite a shaky day defensively Saturday at second base, gets a start at third in place of Kevin Kouzmanoff.

The lineups:
A’s – Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Jackson RF, Willingham LF, Suzuki C, Matsui DH, Ellis 2B, LaRoche 3B, Pennington SS; Gonzalez LHP.

Rangers – Kinsler 2B, Andrus SS, Young DH, Beltre 3B, Cruz LF, Napoli 1B, Murphy CF, Torrealba C, Moreland RF; Harrison LHP.

Joe Stiglich