Crisp sits again; Willingham, Suzuki return

The A’s received a pair of welcomed faces back on Friday when Josh Willingham and Kurt Suzuki returned to the lineup. Willingham had missed the team’s previous two games with back tightness but, with the help of Thursday’s off day, he was ready to go for the first of four games against the Rangers. Suzuki, meanwhile, was plugged into the DH spot for multiple reasons. He and his wife, Renee, welcomed baby girl Malia Grace into the world yesterday, and Geren figured Suzuki could use what’s sorta a half off day. Even more, he wanted to have as many righties in the lineup as possible against Texas lefty C.J. Wilson.

Willingham returned to left field, while Conor Jackson got a start in right and David DeJesus played center in Coco Crisp’s absence. Crisp is still nursing a tight left quad, but Geren said he was feeling better on Friday and was expected to do some running drills. Depending on how those went, he could return to the lineup as soon as tomorrow.

Also on the injury front, Andrew Bailey threw another bullpen today and came out feeling great. He tossed 35-40 fastballs and also played around with his curveball a bit from flatground in an effort to start getting a feel again for his breaking pitches. Bailey isn’t sure how soon he’ll face live hitters, so for now he’ll simply continue on this three-day cycle that has him upping the intensity level with each bullpen.

Lineups for tonight’s game:

A’s: Ellis 2B, Barton 1B, Jackson RF, Willingham LF, Suzuki DH, DeJesus RF, Kouzmanoff 3B, Powell C, Pennington SS

Rangers: Kinsler 2B, Andrus SS, Young DH, Beltre 3B, Cruz RF, Murphy LF, Torrealba C, Moreland 1B, Borbon CF

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