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Errors are becoming the norm with the A’s defense

Manager Bob Melvin gave Marcus Semien a day off at shortstop, and the A's reworked defense had a tough day.

Manager Bob Melvin gave Marcus Semien a day off at shortstop, and the A’s reworked defense had a tough day.

It’s not clear at what point an abnormal level of play becomes normal, but the A’s have to be getting close to that point after a 6-5 loss to the Twins Thursday.

Manager Bob Melvin shook up his infield Thursday, putting second baseman Eric Sogard at shortstop and third baseman Brett Lawrie at second base so regular shortstop Marcus Semien could get a day off.

And the A’s paid for it when the first four runs of the Twins win scored after one error by each middle infielder.

“Marcus had played every inning of every game,’’ general manager Billy Bean said. “He needed to give him a day off.’’

What happened is that three runs scored after Lawrie wasn’t able to complete a double play, throwing wide past first base. Then Sogard had a chance to close out the fourth, but he bobbled a routine grounder and that led to a run that tied the game at 4-all.

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Rodriguez can look forward to more extended roles after good debut

Fernando Rodriguez

Fernando Rodriguez

The A’s got two scoreless innings from one of their relievers Thursday, and even in a 6-5 loss to the Twins Oakland was happy to see the results Fernando Rodriguez got.

Rodriguez was called up in time to make the trip from Triple-A Nashville and get to the A’s clubhouse about 30 minutes before first pitch. He’d been on a hot streak with the Sounds, not allowing a run in any of his last five games, and that roll continue as he pitched two innings and retired six of the seven men he faced, striking out four.

The right-hander said he’d been looking for answers after getting beat up in an April start for the Sounds, and he found them.

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Reddick’s super catch a headache, but one he can live with

Josh Reddick was answering to the name “Superman’’ in the clubhouse after Wednesday’s game thanks to the crazy diving catch he made against the Twins’ Brian Dozier in the fifth inning.

Reddick took to the air to stretch out and steal a double, or triple, from Dozier, to earn the title, although he admitted Thursday morning he liked a `Spiderman’’ reference to the catch better.

Either way, it wound up causing a little pain.

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Rodriguez the latest reliever to move up from Nashville; Smith takes being DFA well, is open to staying with A’s

In their ongoing quest for bullpen help, the A’s went to Triple-A Nashville to call of right-handed reliever Fernando Rodriguez, who was with the club for seven games over two stints last year.

To make room on the 40-man roster, Oakland put reliever Chad Smith on the designated for assignment list, which gives the team 10 days to trade him, release him or, if he clears waivers, sign him to a minor league contract.

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A’s outfield roulette is far from being played out

It's difficult to say how long Billy Burns, seen here scoring in the first inning Tuesday, remains with the team, but he survived the first cut Wednesday.

It’s difficult to say how long Billy Burns, seen here scoring in the first inning Tuesday, remains with the team, but he survived the first cut Wednesday.

While the A’s brought Coco Crisp off the disabled list, sent a surprised Craig Gentry to Triple-A Nashville and kept an equally surprised Billy Burns on the roster and in the lineup Wednesday, don’t think for a minute that Oakland’s outfield roulette is done.

The only thing secure in the A’s outfield is right fielder Josh Reddick, who doubled Wednesday night and who is hitting .406 in his last nine games.

The A’s have four other outfield candidates for the two remaining starting berths – Crisp, who will only play left fielder, Burns, who can play any outfield spot, Mark Canha, who can play left or right in addition to first base and third base, and Sam Fuld, who, like Burns, can play any of the outfield slots.

Burns has been hot – 7-for-19 before Wednesday when he went hitless in five at-bats. Canha has been warm – 7-for-22 with seven RBIs and five runs scored in his last seven games. Fuld has been ice cold – 1-for-30 after grounding out in a pinch-hitting appearance Wednesday.

And then there is Crisp, the anchor of the outfield for many years but at the moment the wild card in all this.

Manager Bob Melvin will not play him every day, including Thursday, the idea being it’s better to ease the 35-year-old back into the lineup considering he’s only played in two injury rehabilitation assignment games in the last six weeks before Wednesday’s debut.

For the moment, that means that there will be opportunities in left field. Fuld will be in the lineup Thursday, probably in left field, but he could be in center if Burns gets the day off. And that would mean Canha, who has been one of the A’s prime run producers with 14 RBIs, could play.

But the more Crisp plays as he gets into the daily routine, the fewer of those games will be.

Melvin hinted that, as well as Burns has played, there is the possibility that keeping him in Oakland might be a short-term prospect. The A’s want burns to be playing every day, the better to hone his skills, and the way the Oakland outfield sets up, as long as Fuld (and Gentry, assuming he returns) are around, Burns’ best shot at playing time will be at Triple-A.

Offensively, the A’s need to get Canha’s bat in the line four or five or more times a week. He can play first base against left-handed pitchers with Ike Davis getting the day off, but he’s hit right handers (.286) well enough and has all four of his homers and 11 of his 14 RBIs against right-handed pitching.

To get that in the game with any kind of regularity, it’s going to be hard to get the speed game that Burns brings in at the same time. Burns can be sent down. Canha, a Rule 5 player, can’t be.

So sometime in the next week or 10 days, there’s a fair chance Burns will be on a flight to Nashville.

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Crisp will be eased back slowly, won’t play any center field; Gentry, Burns surprised that Gentry has been sent down

Coco Crisp is back in the A's lineup and leading off.

Coco Crisp is back in the A’s lineup and leading off.

The A’s took the road less travelled Wednesday in bringing left fielder Coco Crisp back off the disabled list, activating him for the first time this season after elbow surgery and putting him in the lineup, leading off and in left field.

To make room for Crisp, the A’s optioned veteran center fielder Craig Gentry to Triple-A Nashville and kept rookie outfielder Billy Burns, who had seven hits and a walk in the last four games while serving as the leadoff hitter.

Gentry, who had already begun to change into his uniform, quickly got back in his street clothes and left before the media arrived. According to some who saw him, the 31-year-old was, at the very least, surprised by the move. Except for injury rehab work, he hasn’t been in the minor leagues since 2011.

Burns was no less caught off guard.

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Crisp back and leading off; A’s send down Gentry, not Burns

Billy Burns, seen here scoring in the first inning Tuesday, remains with the team as Coco Crisp comes off DL; Craig Gentry sent down instead.

Billy Burns, seen here scoring in the first inning Tuesday, remains with the team as Coco Crisp comes off DL; Craig Gentry sent down instead.

The surprise isn’t that Coco Crisp is back and in the A’s starting lineup in left field Wednesday.

He’s finally healthy again after missing four weeks thanks to elbow troubles, and the A’s are going to get a healthy Crisp back at the top of the lineup as quickly as possible.

It’s that the A’s chose to send down veteran Craig Gentry, in the midst of a season-long slump, and keep a different outfielder, rookie Billy Burns.

Gentry had a .086 batting average in Oakland’s first 28 games after starting the season hitless in his first 20 at-bats. But because the A’s want to have Burns playing every day, it seemed likely that Gentry would stay and Burns would go to Triple-A.

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With Coco Crisp’s return, here’s why it makes sense to keep Craig Gentry over Billy Burns in A’s outfield for time being

Coco Crisp is celebrating a return to active status after 28 games on the disabled list.

Coco Crisp is celebrating a return to active status after 28 games on the disabled list.

The return of Coco Crisp to the A’s is upon us.

Crisp has been cleared medically to join the club after just two injury rehabilitation games with Class-A Stockton, the last vestiges of his the elbow surgery that cost him the first 28 games of the season apparently nothing more than a memory.

From his Minneapolis-bound plane, Crisp used Instagram and Twitter to let the world know he was heading East, saying “I had a blast in Stockton with all young prospects now it’s time to get back wit the big boys.’’

He added some hashtags to that, including #cantwait, #backndashow, #minnesotabound and #needashave.

While the A’s will probably send down rookie Billy Burns to Triple-A Nashville, it’s not out of the question that Craig Gentry could be gone.

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Clippard a little frustrated by lack of work as the A’s closer

Tyler Clippard hasn't had as much work in the first month of the season as he would have liked, but he says it will come.

Tyler Clippard hasn’t had as much work in the first month of the season as he would have liked, but he says it will come.

Tyler Clippard is a man who likes to work, and the A’s reliever is not getting nearly enough of it.

The A’s have played 27 games heading into Tuesday, and Clippard, the closer, has pitched in just 10 of them. He’s the designated closer with Sean Doolittle on the disabled list, but there have been just three save chances for him so far, and he’s converted two.

Partially his time sitting and waiting has been forced on his by the offense, which has a number of blowout wins – five of Oakland’s 10 wins have come by seven or more runs, another by six and one by five.

Part of his inability to get into games has to do with the rest of the bullpen, which hasn’t been able to set him up. The A’s relievers have lost eight games – as many by themselves as first-place Houston’s entire pitching staff has lost all year.

“Yes, I’m surprised at how much I’ve pitched so far,’’ Clippard said before Tuesday’s game. “I’m used to pitching a lot, and I like it. It’s been a fluky season for us so for. We’ve won by a lot, we lost by a lot. It’s been a weird year.

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A’s seem very close to getting Coco Crisp back in the lineup

Coco Crisp could be back in the lineup as soon as Wednesday and certainly by this weekend after recovering from elbow surgery.

Coco Crisp could be back in the lineup as soon as Wednesday and certainly by this weekend after recovering from elbow surgery.

There’s a chance, perhaps 50-50, that Coco Crisp will be in Target Field, leading off and in left field for the A’s in Wednesday’s game against the Twins.

Crisp was in the Bay Area have his surgically repaired right elbow checked out by the A‘s medical crew Tuesday after playing injury rehabilitation games with Class-A Stockton Sunday and Monday.

Manager Bob Melvin said the club would be announcing a decision Wednesday on Crisp, but if he is to play for Oakland Wednesday the decision would have be

“Let’s see how the treatment goes,’’ Melvin said, “and we’ll see how he feels after that.’’

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