OAKLAND -- A's center fielder Coco Crisp returned to the starting lineup Wednesday night against the Texas Rangers after a three-day break.
Manager Bob Melvin said he kept Crisp out of the lineup in part to give him a mental break but also to give outfielder Collin Cowgill an extended stretch of playing time in the outfield. Cowgill, who homered on Tuesday night, is batting .257 and has a career-high eight-game hitting streak.
"We were playing a hot hand in Cowgill," Melvin said. "I told Coco that this would be the day that he'd come back. He sat for three days or whatever, and we gave Cowgill a chance to ramp up the offense, which was struggling. Coco is a guy we need. We need him at the top of the lineup. We need him producing, on base, stealing bases, creating havoc the way he and [Jemile] Weeks did last year.
"We'll pick our spots. I just felt like it was time for Cowgill to get an extended look. He did well, and we expect Coco to get in there and pick it up."
Crisp went 0-for-4 in the A's 2-0 win, lowering his average to .158.
Melvin said it was tough to take Cowgill out of the lineup but that it's critical for Crisp to get untracked.
"He's a guy that we signed here for two years for a reason," Melvin said. "And you can't just sit him down and not play him. At certain times when guys are struggling you do this, but it's his day today, and we expect him to get on it today."
Crisp had a long stint on the disabled list earlier this season with an inner ear infection. Since coming off the DL he has hit .106 over 14 games, going 5-for-47.