OAKLAND -- Coco Crisp returned to the Athletics' lineup Sunday after missing six games with a strained right calf. A's manager Bob Melvin was ecstatic about it. "We're all obviously excited to have him back," Melvin said. The A's could have used his production of late. Crisp is hitting .364 (24-for-66) over his last 17 games and has been a catalyst, along with Jemile Weeks, at the top of the lineup. He leads the American League with a career-high 37 steals.
Crisp is also a career .545 hitter against Matt Harrison, who started for the Rangers on Sunday. With Crisp on the shelf, Melvin was working with a thin bench. That was one of the reasons the club called up Brandon Allen, who has the ability to play in the outfield as well as first base. Allen, whom the A's acquired in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks last month, will work with A's coach Tye Waller on outfield play for the next few days. The addition of Allen prompted the question of playing time to evaluate younger players. Melvin said it was too early to consider. "We have a four-man bench, so there aren't that many decisions to make," Melvin said. "This isn't September, so we're not at that point. Right now, we're going to put out the best lineup."