The last time Crosby was in Baltimore, for Opening Day, it was revealed that the ribs that were hit by a pitch in Spring Training were fractured. He spent the next two months on the DL.
"We should never let him play in Baltimore again," said rookie outfielder Nick Swisher. "That place is bad luck for Bobby, man. This [stinks]. He's such a big part of the team."
"I'm pretty upset about it, to say the least," Crosby said, "I just hope that I'm a quick healer and can get back in there pretty soon. This year."
Trainer Larry Davis, who very rarely puts a timetable on the return of an injured player, broke from form in this case.
"I'd like to see him back out there in under three weeks," Davis said of Crosby, whose ankle was in an air splint Wednesday and won't need to be immobilized. "I'm giving you an optimistic view of what we'd like to see."
Davis explained that the healing time for such fractures is typically three to six weeks, but he thinks Crosby can meet the best-case scenario because he'll be able to stay in shape while he's out of the lineup with light hitting, throwing and aerobic work on the stationary bike and in a rehab pool.
"He should be a pretty well-conditioned athlete when he's ready to play," Davis said.
Teams will often choose not to put a player on the DL when they're close to Sept. 1, when rosters can expand to up to 40 men. But the A's didn't want to play Wednesday's game short a man in the infield, and putting Crosby on the DL allowed them to recall Keith Ginter from Triple-A Sacramento.
Ginter was optioned to Sacramento on Saturday. Normally he'd have had to stay in the Minors for 10 days.
The bad news on Crosby came a day after the A's sent center fielder Mark Kotsay back to Oakland for tests on his ailing back and announced that right-hander Rich Harden (strained lat muscle) was scratched from his scheduled return to the rotation Thursday.
Kotsay was examined by two doctors Wednesday in Oakland and given an epidural injection. He might, Davis said, be able to play again Sunday or Monday. Harden, whose turn in the rotation will again be taken by lefty Joe Kennedy, underwent tests in Anaheim and might miss another start on the homestand that opens Friday against the Yankees.
"Center fielder, shortstop, starting pitcher," Davis said. "That's not good."
Left-hander and clubhouse leader Barry Zito was stunned to hear about the news on Crosby and conceded that the mounting injuries could have an adverse psychological effect on what's been a remarkably resilient club.
At various times this year the A's have had to do without Crosby, Harden, Kotsay, Swisher, setup men Kiko Calero and Justin Duchscherer, closers Octavio Dotel and Huston Street, and first basemen/designated hitters Scott Hatteberg and Erubiel Durazo. Despite all that, they climbed from 15 games under .500 to 19 games over .500 through Tuesday.
"Potentially it could bring us down, but we've faced adversity before and come through it," Zito said. "Granted, we [stunk] the last time we had a bunch of guys on the DL, but now we have some momentum. We've been picking each other up for the past two months."
Swisher, after pointing out how large the All-Star break acquisitions of Kennedy, reliever Jay Witasick and outfielder Jay Payton are looming as the injury report gets more crowded, was even more positive.
"We just can't panic, and we won't," Swisher said. "Every time someone goes down or we lose someone, everyone says, 'What are you guys gonna do? What are you gonna do?' Well, here's what we do: We reload, get back out there and go back to winning ball games."
Help on the way: Manager Ken Macha told reporters that the club's September callups will be with the team in time for Thursday's series finale but wouldn't say who they'd be. MLB.com has learned that they will be right-hander Juan Cruz, catcher Albert Castillo and outfielder Matt Watson.
Cruz, who started the season in the A's bullpen and went 0-2 and an 8.49 ERA in 21 appearances before being demoted June 22, has been mostly dominant as a starter for the River Cats, going 5-1 with a 2.40 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 75 innings.
"You'd hear reports from scouts like, 'What's this guy doing here? He doesn't belong in this league,'" A's director of player development Keith Lieppman said in Wednesday's Sacramento Bee.
In the same story, Cruz admitted he has no idea why he stayed in Sacramento so long.
"You tell me," Cruz said. "I was hoping I'd be back by now. I just came here to pitch, to get ready for whatever time they'd take me back. But I didn't think I'd be here this long."
Castillo, 35, has played with the Mets, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Yankees, Giants and Royals over parts of 10 big-league seasons and was signed to a Minor League deal with the A's earlier this month. He's played in three games for the River Cats, going 0-for-10, and his presence will allow Macha to use backup catcher Adam Melhuse more often.
Watson has been called up to Oakland three times this season, most recently on Aug. 14 when Swisher was placed on the bereavement list after the death of his grandmother. Watson batted .139 (5-for-36) with three RBIs in 13 games for the A's, and at Sacramento he was batting .312 with 17 homers, 80 RBIs and a .402 on-base percentage through Tuesday.
The A's played Wednesday with Ginter as their only available backup infielder and recent callup Freddie Bynum as their only backup outfielder. Macha said last week that he'd like to have Bay Area native Jermaine Clark, who can play infield and outfield and has big-league experience. Clark, who homered for Sacramento on Wednesday, is not on the club's 40-man roster.
Dribblers: With Crosby out, the batting order might change daily.
"Fluid would probably be a good term for that," Macha said. Crosby had been batting mostly third since returning to the lineup May 30, and Eric Chavez, who had been batting cleanup, was in the No. 3 spot Wednesday, with rookie Dan Johnson in the No. 4 spot. ... Ginter, who was scheduled to arrive at Angel Stadium right before the first pitch, will be used primarily as insurance against injury. Mark Ellis will stay at second base while Marco Scutaro, who filled in while Crosby was out earlier this year, will get most of the starts at shortstop.
"His importance to the team is well-documented," Macha said of Scutaro, who platooned at second base last year while Ellis sat out with a torn labrum. "I don't know where we'd be without Scoot." ... The players held their Fantasy Football draft on Monday, and the sight of noses buried in various football magazines and periodicals has been a common one in the visitors' clubhouse in Anaheim. ... Bullpen catcher Brandon Buckley, who suffered a broken toe on the last homestand when he was hit by a pitch, returned to the team Tuesday.
Up next: Kennedy (3-0, 2.74 ERA with Oakland) takes on Angels righty Ervin Santana (7-6, 4.99) on Thursday in the series finale. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT.