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Crisp expected back in lineup for finale

Crisp expected back in lineup for finale

OAKLAND -- In what is becoming a familiar scene, Coco Crisp was missing from the A's lineup on Saturday.

Oakland has been without its regular leadoff hitter for much of the last two weeks, but manager Bob Melvin is hopeful Crisp is nearing everyday action again.

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The center fielder started Friday night's series opener against the Astros and was 2-for-3 with a homer, but he was held back against lefty starter Brett Oberholtzer on Saturday, as the A's are being cautious with a left wrist that kept him out of action for several days last week.

Crisp entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the sixth and drew a walk after Oberholtzer was lifted for a right-handed reliever. Crisp lined out softly to shortstop in the eighth and is expected to be in Sunday's starting lineup.

"We'll get into it slowly," said Melvin. "He felt a lot better swinging right-handed in the cage. He's available again off the bench today, and either today or tomorrow we'll be a full-go with him from both sides of the plate."

Craig Gentry started in center field in place of Crisp, who has reached base safely via hit or walk in each of his eight starts. He missed four games because of the wrist injury and another three as a result of a hamstring issue.

"I'm just trying to be careful with him," Melvin said. "This is a guy we don't want to lose for a significant period of time. We've come a long way with the injury, and we just want to make sure he's as close to 100 percent as we can get."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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