OAKLAND -- The A's are far better with Coco Crisp in their starting lineup, even when he's not swinging the bat well.
Just consider the 55-37 record they've compiled on such days.
"He's our motor. He's our guy that gets us going," said manager Bob Melvin. "The running game suffers when he's not in there. We feel a little bit better about running behind him when he's running. When he's playing well, we're usually playing well. There are certain guys that have a little more impact to your team than others, and he is definitely one of those guys for us."
The A's were obviously thrilled, then, to get Crisp back on Monday for the opener of a three-game set against the Mariners, marking the first time their regular leadoff hitter had appeared in the starting lineup since Aug. 11.
Blame it on a sore left wrist, which has bothered Crisp off and on this season, perhaps explaining the veteran outfielder's ongoing struggles at the plate. He's batting just .191 over his last 46 games after hitting .301 over his first 50 contests.
In this ugly stretch, Crisp has also watched his on-base percentage slide from .386 to .329. As a result, his stolen-base attempts have dwindled, and he only has three successful ones in that span. On the year, he has 16 stolen bases, putting him on pace for 21.
His 162-game average in 11 previous seasons? 35.
"He just hasn't been on base as much," Melvin said. "The wrist thing, he's had it a couple of times this year. One time he played through it and, the last time obviously, we had to get him a [cortisone] shot and sit him down. So whether or not that's contributing to some numbers, more of a question for him. But he is a tough guy that wants to play through injuries when he can."
The switch-hitting Crisp has more issues with his wrist when batting right-handed, so Melvin said he's likely to rest him again on Tuesday with lefty Joe Saunders going for the Mariners. Then he could start Wednesday and again rest Thursday, thanks to a team off-day.
"We'll just see how it goes," Melvin said.
"With something like that," explained, "I don't know that even when you rest a guy, he's still taking swings in the cage, trying to prepare and get ready."