DETROIT -- Coco Crisp was deemed by A's manager Bob Melvin as only "maybe slightly better" on Wednesday, so the outfielder was held out of the lineup for the second time in the past three games for Thursday's middle game in Detroit, as he continues to heal from pink eye.
"It's difficult to play this game without your eyes 100 percent," Melvin said. "On top of that, you never want to put anyone in a position where you could get someone injured. It literally is day to day, it just depends on how he responds."
Crisp attempted to play Tuesday, but he only lasted three innings before being replaced in the lineup. Melvin said the veteran's infection, affecting both eyes, is considered "severe." However, he's assumed to not be as contagious as before, though the A's continue to make necessary precautions.
"He has his own towels out here," Melvin said. "We try to semi-quarantine him in the dugout as much as we can."
Because of Crisp's unavailability, Stephen Drew was placed in the leadoff spot, where he's garnered more starts in his career than anywhere else.
Blackley tabbed for Saturday; Straily pushed back
DETROIT -- The A's have altered their rotation for their upcoming weekend series with the Yankees, deciding to start lefty Travis Blackley on Saturday in place of the right-handed Dan Straily.
Straily, it appears, will now go Monday in Texas in place of injured lefty Brett Anderson, should Anderson miss his scheduled start against the Rangers as anticipated, after he suffered a right oblique strain in Wednesday's 6-2 loss.
A's manager Bob Melvin cited matchup reasons for the switch, and Blackley, who has already bounced back and forth between the rotation and bullpen multiple times this year, is on board with the new plan. It will mark not only his first career appearance at Yankee Stadium but his first outing against the Yankees.
"Obviously, when you grew up, that's who you pictured yourself pitching against, the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium, so it's going to be one of those dreams coming true again, and I'm looking forward to it," Blackley said.
The southpaw isn't too worried about such anticipation hindering his performance, though, even while also understanding the game's significance from a team standpoint, as it will come in the middle of the A's crucial 10-game road trip that could decide their postseason fate.
"If you're looking at it like that, you're going to psych yourself out," Blackley said. "I'm just thinking about keeping the team in the game as long as possible.
"It's good to know that they can trust you to take the reins when they need it. I'm trying to treat it like any other game, not think too much about it and go out there and get outs."
Blackley has excelled in every role with the A's this year, posting a 4-3 record and 3.97 ERA in 12 starts, along with a 2.86 ERA spanning 13 relief appearances.
Straily, meanwhile, is coming off a poor outing against the Orioles, having allowed them four runs on five hits, including two home runs, and five walks with one strikeout in 4 2/3 innings on Sunday. The rookie has never faced the Rangers.
Barton gets rare start at first as A's shake up order
DETROIT -- The A's lineup endured quite the shakeup Wednesday, and it was Daric Barton's presence that made for the biggest surprise.
Barton, who last made a start with the A's on May 30, drew one at first base for the club's second of a three-game set in Detroit, getting the nod against tough righty Justin Verlander. The left-handed Brandon Moss started in left field, while Chris Carter sat on the bench.
Bob Melvin, managing without Coco Crisp, who is still suffering from pink eye, had his reasons for the decision, noting that in no way does it change how he views the first-base situation moving forward.
"Certainly with Coco not in there, it affects things some," Melvin said. "Typically this would be a Chris Carter day. I'm going to stay away from him. He and Moss are still our platoon at first, just a little different flavor for this game, and I wanted to get another left-handed guy in there, a guy that's faced Verlander a little bit. Defensively, he's very good at first. This isn't about playing into the first-base situation. It's about the Coco situation more than anything else."
Barton, who entered the contest 1-for-10 against Verlander with three walks and five strikeouts, had made just three appearances since being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Sept. 10. He was hitless in eight at-bats in that time.
Yoenis Cespedes entered Wednesday one home run shy of 20, and should he reach that mark before season's end, it would be the first time the A's have had two players hit 20 or more home runs in a season since 2007 (Jack Cust, Nick Swisher). Josh Reddick has 29.
The A's struck out nine times on Tuesday, thus entering Wednesday with an American League-leading 1,241 on the season, which is an ongoing A's franchise record. Moreover, it is the seventh-highest single-season total in AL history. The AL record is 1,324, set by Tampa Bay in 2007.