05/12/2013 8:59 PM ET
Norris picking up pitchers with strong defensive play
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- Derek Norris hasn't done much at the plate recently to warrant much attention, but his defensive doings are drawing plenty praise.
The A's catcher, who entered Sunday's series finale in Seattle batting .137 over his last 16 games, was crucial to his club's 4-3 victory over the Mariners on Saturday that snapped a five-game losing streak.
Norris picked off a runner in the fourth inning, and he blocked several balls in the dirt thrown not only by an effectively wild Jarrod Parker but by closer Grant Balfour in the ninth. That's when Norris held Kelly Shoppach at first base, the A's only up by a run, by getting in front of a fastball in the dirt, ultimately preventing him from scoring when Michael Saunders singled with two outs.
"He had a great game behind the plate," manager Bob Melvin said. "Those don't show up in the box score. There's a pickoff at first and a walk right behind it, and you don't know where that inning could have gone.
"He's not only blocking balls in the dirt, but fastballs in the dirt, which are really hard to do. You block a ball with a man on third, that's like an RBI for me, so he had a terrific game behind the plate and was very instrumental in the win."
Norris, 24, has quietly built strong relationships with each of Oakland's pitchers since the time he joined the A's last year.
"We've always felt like he has the chance to be a good defender," Melvin said. "He's one of those all-around guys that has the chance to be a true everyday guy that can do it both offensively and defensively. I think the more you get to learn a staff the more respect they have for you in calling a game, more trust they have in you. They definitely trust him."
Crisp to run bases Monday, could return Wednesday
SEATTLE -- A's manager Bob Melvin doesn't want to make any promises, but he's also not ruling out the possibility of a Coco Crisp return on Wednesday.
That's the day Oakland's ailing center fielder is eligible to come off the disabled list, the same day rehabbing teammate Chris Young (left quad) is also expected back.
"I get ahead of myself," Melvin acknowledged. "But I would have to say it's not completely out of the question."
Crisp, nursing a strained left hamstring back to health, could run the bases as soon as Monday, when the team returns home from a 10-game road trip.
"I think we'll have a really good indication of where he is tomorrow," manager Bob Melvin said Sunday morning. "He's scheduled to run the bases, depending on how today goes. If he runs the bases well tomorrow, who knows?"
Crisp's speedy presence at the top of the lineup has very much been missed, with the A's offense struggling to consistently manufacture many runs on their trip outside of the long ball.
In the time Crisp has been out, Oakland has gone 4-7.
A's take to pink bats, equipment for cancer awareness
SEATTLE -- Though neither experienced successful outcomes with their pink bats, A's players Brandon Moss and Michael Taylor still offered support of mothers, and more specifically breast cancer awareness, by using them Sunday.
Moss and Taylor combined to go 0-for-8 with six strikeouts with the special-edition Louisville Slugger pink bats in the A's 6-1 loss to Seattle on Mother's Day, while many of their teammates donned batting gloves, wristbands and other equipment brandished in pink.
Taylor wore the most pink, with his cleats matching his bat. Catcher Derek Norris, too, chose to wear pink cleats -- high-top cleats.
"They're bright," said manager Bob Melvin, smiling.
The pink bats were used by many players league-wide. As has been the case each year since 2006, game-used pink Louisville Sluggers will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to raise further funds for breast cancer awareness.
• Lefty Brett Anderson made a rehab start with Double-A Midland in San Antonio on Sunday, allowing six earned runs on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. Anderson threw 80 pitches, 43 of them for strikes.
The southpaw, out with a right ankle sprain, is eligible to come off the disabled list on Thursday. It's not yet known when the A's plan to plug him back into the rotation, but when they do, right-hander Dan Straily is likely headed back to Triple-A Sacramento.