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Coco Crisp drops to eighth in A’s batting order, but where will he settle defensively?

It was no surprise to walk into the A’s clubhouse today and see that Coco Crisp was dropped from second to eighth in the batting order. A .156 average in late May will tend to do that. It’s odd to see his name so far down the lineup card, just because I associate him with being strictly a top-of-the-order hitter.

Tonight’s lineups:
A’s – Weeks 2B, Cowgill LF, Reddick RF, Smith DH, Inge 3B, Ka’aihue 1B, Suzuki C, Crisp CF, Pennington SS; Parker RHP.

Twins – Span CF, Revere RF, Mauer DH, Willingham LF, Morneau 1B, Doumit C, Dozier SS, Plouffe 3B, Carroll 2B; De Vries RHP.

I asked Crisp about dropping so far in the lineup. “It is what it is. It’s well-deserved,” he said. “When you hit in the lower part of the lineup, it’s a little less pressure. But there’s pressure wherever you hit. Right now, I think it’s the best thing. I just want to work my way back up.”

Bob Melvin’s take: “It’s kind of a break. He’ll hit second at some point in time again. It’s just a change of scenery.”

–Yoenis Cespedes is playing left field for the second consecutive day in his rehab with Triple-A Sacramento, though Melvin said there’s still been no decision on whether he moves full-time from center field when he comes off the DL. “I don’t think it’s any secret that Coco feels more comfortable in center,” Melvin said. “We’re just trying to get better. If we feel we’re all-the-way-around defensively better with that mix, it’s something we’ll try.”

Melvin also alluded to opposing base runners who have been challenging Crisp’s arm in left and taking the extra base. “You expect your corner guys to throw some guys out,” Melvin said, adding that arm strength perhaps isn’t as much of an issue in center.

I think that’s an interesting point of discussion. I don’t think he’s saying it’s OK for a center fielder to have a weak arm. I think his point is that a fast base runner can often go from 1st to 3rd on a single to center no matter how strong a center fielder’s arm is. But you don’t want opponents feeling they can go 1st to 3rd on any single down the left-field line. Crisp may have a poor arm in center, but he does have terrific range. And I think, overall, he’d handle the position more smoothly than Cespedes. The A’s originally put Cespedes in center in part because they wanted to make his transition to the majors as seamless as possible, and Cespedes had played center in Cuba. Now, Melvin said he knows Cespedes could handle any outfield spot.

At any rate, Melvin stressed that no decisions have been made yet. But I’d say the smart money goes on an outfield of Cespedes-Crisp-Reddick (left to right) once Cespedes comes off the DL. …

Joe Stiglich