Coco Crispheads out on an injury rehabilitation assignment Monday with Class-A Stockton.
For the better part of a week, Coco Crisp has been saying “I really want to get out and start playing.’’
That happens Monday when the A’s left fielder, limited to 13 games this season by elbow, then neck, problems, begins an injury rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Stockton.
Crisp has never been a huge fan of lengthy rehab assignments; this one could be short enough to see him back and active by next weekend. He’s down for at least four games, although manager Bob Melvin has said Crisp has a history of healing quickly, suggesting there could be some adjustment to the schedule.
“Coco is feeling good,’’ Melvin said of the rehab work Crisp has done since suffering a neck injury reminiscent of that of 2014. “He’ll go out and see how he feels.’’
Crisp came back from his spring elbow surgery the first week of May perhaps too soon He went hitless in his first seven games (five starts) before ending an 0-for-26 start with an infield single. He went 2-for-45, .044 in his return before diving for a ball in the outfield and suffering a neck injury similar to the one that put him on the disabled list twice last year.
He’s rehabbed the neck to the point “where I don’t feel any pain,’’ Crisp said.
What will happen when Crisp is back is a little unclear. Ben Zobrist and Mark Canha have gotten most of the starts in left field to this point. Zobrist is on the trade block with the trade deadline coming up Friday, and if he is dealt, finding playing time for Crisp will be no problem, Canha going back to being the team’s fourth outfielder.
If Zobrist isn’t traded, he could move to second base, where he’s made about half of his starts. That move would push Eric Sogard into a backup/utility role, one which was envisioned for him by the club heading into the season.
–With Randy Johnson going into the Hall of Fame Sunday, his career numbers will be forever immortalized in a Cooperstown plaque.
Among the 3346 hits he gave up in a 21-year career were 14 to A’s manager Bob Melvin. Only Melvin thinks the numbers are wrong. He says he remembers 18 hits off Johnson.
“Every time I see him I tell him he kept me in the big leagues for 10 years,’’ Melvin said of his career .452 average against the Big Unit. “I did get my share of hits off him. I actually think they shorted me some.
“I think I had a few more hits and a few more at-bats off him. But as to why I hit him well, I really have no idea. He probably felt sorry for me. He probably wasn’t too worried about me.’’
Melvin’s history with Johnson includes time when Johnson was starting for the Diamondbacks while Melvin was the bench coach in 2001-02, then later as the Arizona manager from 2005-09.
“His first World Series game they were doing a special on him,’’ Melvin said, looking back to the 2001 post-season. “And they did a rundown of the top guys off Randy all-time. Randy is notorious for you-don’t-talk-to-Randy on the day he pitches, let alone his first World Series game. He comes in the coaches’ office and he looked at me and he said `Do you know you hit me like that?
“I said `Yeah, you kept me in the big leagues for 10 years.’ And I thought I saw a smile. He turned around, walked out, then threw a shutout.
“This is a big day for him. And deservedly so. He’s one of the greats of all-time. He’s arguably the best left-hander of all time. He’s certainly the most dominant as far striking people out and scowling.’’
–Lefty closer Sean Doolittle threw on flat ground Saturday and again Sunday, making it the first time he’s played catch on back-to-back days since coming down with a left shoulder injury while pitching on May 27.
He’s down to have another flat ground session Tuesday, then will get back on a mound for the first time Thursday. The A’s are looking at a return for him sometime in late August or early September.
Doolittle has appeared in just one game this season, a left rotator cuff injury wiping out his spring training and keeping him on the DL until May 25.
The lefty said Sunday that he’s not sure when he’d be ready to return because “until this year, I’d never had shoulder problems before. So I don’t really know what to expect.’’
–Disabled switch-pitcher Pat Venditte (right shoulder strain) threw one inning Saturday for Stockton, throwing only from the left side, and came out of it reporting no problems. He’s due to pitch again Tuesday for an inning, at which point he will be free to match up left-handed or right-handed, as the situation demands.
–Lefty reliever Fernando Abad has not allowed a run in 14 of his last 16 games, a 1.17 ERA over that stretch to bring his ERA down from 7.36 to 3.76. The only runs he’s allowed since May 22 have been a couple of solo homers.
–Billy Butler has a .500 batting average in interleague play (15.for-30), which is the best mark in the big leagues. Despite that, the A’s regular DH got Sunday’s start off, Ike Davis getting the start at first base and there being no DH with the game in a National League park.