NEW YORK -- Coco Crisp remained out of Oakland's lineup with pinkeye for Friday's opener against the Yankees, prompting manager Bob Melvin to pencil Collin Cowgill's name into the lineup for the second time since he rejoined the A's as a September callup.

Cowgill led off and played center field in Crisp's absence, with Yoenis Cespedes returning to left field after serving as designated hitter Thursday in Detroit with a bone bruise in his right foot.

Melvin said he doubted Crisp would be available off the bench, and opted to start Cowgill atop his lineup because of the right-handed hitter's experience against Yankees starter CC Sabathia. Cowgill went 3-for-4 against Sabathia in a May 26 matchup with the left-hander at the Coliseum.

"He does have a little bit of a history with him," Melvin said. "We'll start him out there and see how it goes. We certainly have some options off the bench if the pitching goes in a different direction, but he's probably the only other true leadoff-hitter type we have, especially against a left-hander. It's his time to shine today."

Norberto, Sogard continue rehab process

NEW YORK -- A's Left-hander Jordan Norberto is close to playing catch as he attempts to return from his second stint on the disabled list this season with left shoulder tendinitis, according to manager Bob Melvin.

The reliever last pitched Aug. 17 against Cleveland, then landed on the DL two days later. He has been limited to throwing socks thus far in his recovery, though Melvin expects that to change soon.

"I know he's champing at the bit," Melvin said.

A potential return for Eric Sogard is not even on Melvin's radar, although the utility infielder is participating in baseball activities. The A's placed Sogard on the DL with a strained back on Aug. 10.

"He's doing some baseball activity, but I don't think you're looking at a potential option in the coming days," Melvin said. "We'll see where he's at when we get home, but it's not something we're looking at now, certainly on this road trip."

Young A's ready to wrestle on big stage

NEW YORK -- The A's arrived in New York late Thursday night with 17 rookies dressed in green wrestling singlets with gold headgear, part of the annual rookie hazing that helped keep the atmosphere light for a youth-laden club in the middle of a playoff race and 10-game road trip. The A's are set to play three games at what manager Bob Melvin called a "mausoleum of baseball" for the first time.

Seven A's starters, including starting pitcher Jarrod Parker, never played a game in the Bronx before Friday's opener at Yankee Stadium. While Melvin acknowledged the circumstances surrounding the two playoff hopefuls made the matchup more meaningful, he also appeared unconcerned that the moment would be too big for his club.

"They know that it's 60 feet, six inches and 90 feet on the basepaths and all that," Melvin said.