Coco Crisp tested out his strained left hamstring on the bases on Monday, and manager Bob Melvin was so encouraged by the results that, for the first time, he said the outfielder could potentially return to the lineup when eligible Wednesday.
“It went really well,” Melvin said. “He ran full out, didn’t look like there was hesitation, so he’ll take batting practice, some balls in the outfield today, and if everything goes well today and tomorrow we’ll look to activate him Wednesday. But, again, we have to get there first.”
Melvin didn’t sound as optimistic about Chris Young, who is on the mend from a left quad strain. The outfielder homered in an extended Spring Training game Monday but “wasn’t 100 percent,” Melvin said. Young went 1-for-5 and played seven innings in center field.
“He could feel it a little bit, probably didn’t let himself go all the way running down the line, so we’ll see on Wednesday,” Melvin continued. “He’ll play again tomorrow. If we feel like we have to push it back with the off-day [Thursday], we can do that, but we’ll see where it goes.”
Crisp and Young, responsible for 13 of the club’s 26 stolen bases, have both been out since April 30, and in that time the A’s are 4-8.
“These are key guys for us, but you don’t want to make excuses for anything,” Melvin said. “We have depth in this organization, guys that we like, and it’s their opportunity to shine. I think we probably miss Coco at the top of the lineup as much as anything, because he’s our igniter, but you don’t make excuses. You play through them and try to do the best you can.”
At some point, whether by way of Crisp’s activation or Young’s, Michael Taylor is likely to be sent back to Triple-A Sacramento. He entered Monday with just one hit in 14 at-bats, after going hitless in six at-bats during his first stint with the club and 3-for-21 over two stints in Oakland last year.
These struggles put into question Taylor’s future with the organization. He’ll be 28 by year’s end, with more than 600 games played at the Minor League level.
“He just hasn’t had the quality at-bats he’d like to have,” Melvin said. “We still feel like the ability is there. It just hasn’t translated at this point. You look at Chris Carter, and he had a tough time and finally got more of an opportunity to play on a regular basis and figured it out and had a productive year. We’d like to think that’s the same way with Michael, because the ability is there.
“He hasn’t gotten consistent time, where he’s gotten four, five games in a row, and he might not, but we still hold out hope that his ability will take over and he will have success here at some point in time.”
It’s not clear who will join Taylor back in Triple-A when both Crisp and Young are reinstated, though the decision is expected to come down to Daric Barton — who would first have to clear waivers — or Luke Montz.
Josh Reddick is not ready to commit to right wrist surgery until he attempts to swing a bat, but the A’s outfielder is also not ruling it out.
“Obviously I don’t want that,” Reddick said Monday, “but it’s something that’s not out of the question right now.”
The fact that Reddick is even considering surgery, which would put him out at least two months, is alarming, particularly at a time when his team is struggling to string together some wins. Entering Monday, the A’s had dropped 16 of their last 23 games, with six of their next nine to be played against the first-place Rangers.
Reddick was batting just .152 with one home run when he was placed on the disabled list with a sprained right wrist Wednesday, after hitting .242 with 32 home runs and 85 RBIs last year. But his Gold-Glove defense makes him an invaluable piece to the team regardless, and there was thought that his wrist pain may have contributed to his ongoing woes at the plate.
The 26-year-old received a cortisone shot in his wrist last week and said he hasn’t experienced much pain since, though his ensuing activity has been limited, mostly reduced to strengthening exercises. That’s all Reddick will continue to do for at least another week, and after that point he’ll test his wrist with a bat.
“That’s when we’ll actually know anything for sure,” he said. “I’m not going to make a decision now. If it was torn last week, I would’ve already been in a cast, but there’s no tear so I’m not going to jump to any conclusions and just take every precaution to get it right.
“If it works out then it works out, but if not then we may unfortunately have to go down that road [of surgery]. Hopefully there’s a road block sign out there.”
Reddick suffered the same injury in his left wrist in September 2011, but with his ex-Red Sox club in the middle of a playoff run that ultimately fizzled, he played through the pain — allowing just one day of rest after receiving a cortisone shot — and a week into the offseason learned he had a tear, leading to surgery.
“It’s in the same spot as the other one,” Reddick said, “but I don’t know how it’s going to project. Hopefully it’s something I can manage and strengthen back up.”
Manager Bob Melvin, like Reddick, is remaining cautiously optimistic about avoiding surgery.
“I wouldn’t say it’s out of the realm, but that’s a last resort at this point,” said Melvin, who is also without injured outfielders Coco Crisp and Chris Young. “We’d like to think that the strengthening that he’s doing right now gets better and better to where he can swing the bat. We hope that once he does that he’s fine. But I don’t think you rule anything out at this point.”