ARLINGTON -- Three doctor visits and more than one frustrating week later, A's outfielder Coco Crisp remained sidelined by an irksome case of pinkeye on Monday. Crisp has seen specialists in the Bay Area, Detroit and New York, all of which have delivered the same diagnosis for the allergic conjunctivitis that has kept the A's table setter out of the starting lineup in seven of the club's last eight games. Crisp attempted to play Tuesday in Detroit but could only make it through four innings. "No better today, unfortunately," manager Bob Melvin said as his squad prepared for the opener of its crucial four-game series with the Rangers. "He's having a tough time with it. I hold out hope every day, but we're just not seeing much progress. It's in both eyes, and on a particular day one's worse than the other, and he's just having a tough time getting any traction on it."
Crisp's absence hasn't gone unnoticed. In the six games he's missed, the A's are 2-4, their strong hold on the top American League Wild Card slot no more. Baltimore held that spot entering the day, while the Angels trailed Oakland by just 2 1/2 games for the second spot, with 10 games to play. It goes without saying, then, that the A's need all of their weapons against the AL West-leading Rangers, who carried a four-game lead on Oakland coming into the day. Crisp is one of them, yet it's uncertain when, if at all, he'll be available this week. At the very least, Crisp could potentially lend the A's a baserunner off the bench. He currently ranks fourth in the American League in stolen bases (35). "He is integral for us, and we look forward to getting him back as soon as possible," Melvin said. "He does a lot of things for us -- plays a terrific center field, he's our runner on the bases, he's our igniter, he hits good pitching, he's a really good player for us, so we miss him. But like anything else, if one of our guys is out for awhile, someone else has to pick him up." Stephen Drew, owner of 12 hits in his last 37 at-bats, was slotted into the leadoff spot Monday in Crisp's stead, with Yoenis Cespedes holding his defensive place in center field, while Brandon Moss again drew a start in left field.