Crosby looking to shake injury risk tag

Crosby looks to shake injury risk tag

ANAHEIM -- A's shortstop Bobby Crosby used to chafe a bit when talking about the injury prone label some fans affixed to him in the wake of trips to the disabled list that prevented him from playing in more than 96 games in a season between 2005-07.

Now he chafes a bit at the notion of missing a single game. As Oakland prepared for its 82nd game of the season on Monday, Crosby was preparing to make his career-high 82nd consecutive start.

"I'd like to keep it going as long as I can," Crosby said before the opener of a three-game American League West showdown vs. the Halos at Angel Stadium. "It's just fun playing."

Crosby's double-play partner, second baseman Mark Ellis, understands where Crosby is coming from -- and couldn't be happier for him.

"I know from experience, unfortunately," said Ellis, who missed all of the 2004 season with a torn right labrum, missed a month of the 2006 regular season with a broken right thumb, and missed most of the 2006 playoffs with a broken right finger. When you miss that much time, you don't want to come out.

"It's really nice to see him healthy and doing the kinds of things we all knew he was capable of doing."

Crosby's teammates have long decried the label slapped on Crosby as unfair, noting that all of his DL stints were the product of bad luck: He's had ribs broken by a Spring Training fastball in 2005, his left ankle fractured in a collision at home plate later that same season, and his left hand was fractured by another fastball late in 2007.

He also missed 52 games in 2006 with a lower back strain.

"If I didn't have all the injuries, I'd probably take a day off here and there," Crosby said. "But I don't want to take anything for granted."

Crosby entered Monday's game leading the A's in games played, hits (82), total bases (119) and doubles (25), and his 37 RBIs ranked him both second on the team and second among AL shortstops. He was ranked third in the AL in doubles and was one short of the Oakland record for two-baggers before the All-Star break.

And although Crosby also had the second-most errors among AL shortstops, A's manager Bob Geren, who has frequently called fielding percentage a "bad stat" because it doesn't factor in range or the number of great plays made, raved about the 2004 AL Rookie of the Year's glove work this season.

"He's contributing every which way," Geren said. "Offensively, defensively, he's running the bases well, and he's played a great shortstop. He really has. The combination of him and Ellis being in there so much really helps the defense."

Another reason Crosby wants to play as much as possible is for development purposes, and Ellis can relate to that, too.

"He missed all that time at a crucial point in his career," Ellis said. "Now that he's playing more, you see him getting better and better, because that's just the regular procession of being a big league baseball player. You have to play to get better."

"I've definitely gotten better this year," Crosby said. "But there's a lot of things I need to improve on, and it's a lot easier to do that and figure out how to do it when you're out there day-to-day."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.