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Crosby thriving in unfamiliar role

Crosby thriving in unfamiliar role

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ARLINGTON -- Until this season, if Bobby Crosby was healthy when he walked into the A's clubhouse, he didn't even have to look at the lineup card. He knew he was on it, starting at shortstop.

Now, he has no clue each day, not only as to whether he'll play, but also as to where.

"It's definitely different," is how he describes his situation. "Weird."

Stripped of his shortstop job during Spring Training, Crosby was turned into a utility player despite having never played anywhere but shortstop since his sophomore year of high school.

Entering Tuesday's second game of a three-game series against the host Rangers, Crosby has played in 53 games at first base, 36 at third base, six at shortstop, five at second base and one in right field.

"It's been a challenge," Crosby said. "It's been fun learning new things, but it's not easy."

A's manager Bob Geren suggested that Crosby has, for the most part, made it look easy.

"He's made some nice plays," Geren said. "For a guy that's played shortstop his entire career, I think he's done a real nice job. ... It'll add some versatility to his resume."

Crosby, who will be a free agent this winter and isn't expected back, isn't particularly thrilled to have anything on his resume other than "shortstop."

"Who knows if I'll get a chance somewhere else, but that's how I see myself," he said. "I'm a shortstop, and that's how I'll always think of myself."

Pitching matchup
OAK: RHP Edgar Gonzalez (0-2, 4.92 ERA)
Gonzalez, who has pitched in long relief for most of the season, is now part of a six-man rotation designed to reduce the workload of Oakland's young staff. Formerly a swing man for the D-backs, Gonzalez has been slightly more effective as a starter with the A's, posting a 4.20 ERA in three nods, but he rarely gets deep into games, as he's worked 15 innings on those starts. Gonzalez has faced the Rangers once this season, as a starter, and allowed five runs on eight hits and three walks over five innings.

TEX: RHP Brandon McCarthy (7-2, 4.81 ERA)
McCarthy is 2-0 with a 4.26 ERA in two starts since coming off the disabled list. He missed three months with a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade. In 12 2/3 innings since he returned with new mechanics, he has allowed eight hits, four walks and six strikeouts. He is 4-0 with a 3.31 ERA in seven starts at home this season and 7-4 with a 4.00 ERA in 20 starts over the past three years at the Ballpark in Arlington. He is 1-3 with an 8.15 ERA in six career games, including four starts, against the Athletics -- his highest ERA against any opponent.

Dribblers ...
The Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, who beat Tacoma three games to one in the first round of the Pacific Coast League playoffs, open the PCL Championship Series on Tuesday against the Memphis Redbirds, the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate. Chris Carter hit four home runs in the first round to tie the club record for homers in the playoffs. ... The Double-A Midland Rock Hounds are chasing a title, too. They open the Texas League Championship Series on Tuesday at home against Northwest Arkansas. Jemile Weeks, Oakland's top pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer in Midland's first-round series clincher. ... Clayton Mortensen, Sam Demel, James Simmons and Justin Friend will be the pitchers representing the A's in the 2009 Arizona Fall League. ... Crosby is the first A's player to make at least five starts at all four infield positions since Ernie Riles in 1991.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• CSNCA

On radio
• KTRB 860, KDIA 1640 (Español)

Up next
• Wednesday: Athletics (Clay Mortensen, 1-2, 6.75) at Rangers (Dustin Nippert, 5-2, 3.95), 5:05 p.m. PT
• Thursday: Athletics (Brett Anderson, 9-10, 4.37) vs. Indians (Justin Masterson, 4-7, 4.25), 7:05 p.m. PT
• Friday: Athletics (Gio Gonzalez, 5-6, 6.31) vs. Indians (David Huff, 10-7, 6.14), 7:05 p.m. PT

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

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