5/16/2014 11:11 P.M. ET
Crisp back in action after week of being sidelined
By Stephen Ellsesser / Special to MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Just as planned, Coco Crisp made it back to the lineup for the series opener against the Indians on Friday.
The A's played a little over a week without their center fielder, who suffered a neck strain when he ran into a wall to make a catch in the first game of a doubleheader on May 7 in Oakland.
Craig Gentry's quality work to spell Crisp helped push Oakland to a 6-1 record while its leadoff hitter recovered.
"Whenever you're able to go 6-1, you feel fortunate," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "That's why we've incorporated the depth we have.
"A guy like Craig Gentry, who filled in every day, did a good job for us, and that's why he was brought in. Sometimes Coco, playing as hard as he does, will be out some games, and we need to give him some days off."
Gentry is hitting .313 (20-for-64) this season when he's in the starting lineup.
As he returns, Crisp will look to restore the pace he set early in the season. In his final 14 games before the neck strain, Crisp was batting just .220 (13-for-59). In the first 14 games of the season, he hit .324.
Blanks singles in first A's at-bat after whirlwind day
CLEVELAND -- In just more than 24 hours, Kyle Blanks went from a couch in West Texas to standing on first base at Progressive Field in the A's 11-1 win over the Tribe on Friday night.
Napping in El Paso on Thursday, Blanks got a call letting him know he had been traded by the Padres to the Athletics, and he stepped off a plane in Cleveland just after 3:30 p.m. ET Friday afternoon.
Blanks entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Yoenis Cespedes in the ninth inning, knocking a single before being caught up in an inning-ending double play.
Getting his first shot late in the game as Oakland had a huge lead, Blanks got started on the right foot.
"No doubt about it, makes you feel like part of it, part of the team right away when you're able to get in and contribute," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Blanks' debut.
Leading up to the trade, Blanks knew he might be moved.
"There were a few days prior to this happening, actually a friend of mine texted me and asked if I was traded," Blanks said. "I'm not really a social media person, don't really get online and look up a bunch of stuff. But lo and behold, a few days later, I'm trying to take a nap and I get a call that brings me here.
"But it's definitely all for the better, definitely a great opportunity."
Blanks appeared in five games for San Diego this season, going 2-for-10 and making a pair of starts at first base, his natural position. He figures to give Oakland an option at first base that can hit left-handed pitching.
"Well, we were probably a little left-handed-heavy at first," Melvin said. "[Blanks is] a guy that can play first and the outfield, has got some power, runs pretty well for a big guy and is versatile."
Blanks walked into a live clubhouse Friday afternoon, where half the team was huddled around a clubhouse TV watching a game of Tecmo Bowl.
"It's definitely a loose, good, fun place to be, and that's the appearance it has, and so far, it's definitely easy to come into that," Blanks said. "It's not like I came from somewhere that was like a dungeon or this and that, but you don't know that to expect.
"When you walk into it and get a sense of the air moving around, how people interact, it allows you step back and say: 'I'm where I want to be.'"
Wearing No. 88, Blanks took batting practice with the final group of Oakland hitters Friday.
Jaso, Norris remain in lineup after Crisp's return
CLEVELAND -- Even with his leadoff hitter back, Oakland manager Bob Melvin still found room for both of his catchers in the lineup.
Playing without Coco Crisp made it easier for Melvin to keep John Jaso and Derek Norris in the order. But with the way they have hit, they've made themselves difficult to sit.
Designating Daric Barton for assignment left third baseman Josh Donaldson as the emergency catcher. Melvin worries less about what could go wrong with both his regular catchers playing than what goes right with the two strong hitters in there.
"Yes, sometimes I do [have reservations about playing both catchers]," Melvin said. "We have Donaldson, but I don't even like talking about [what could go wrong], to tell you the truth."
Jaso, batting .307, led off the last four games in place of Crisp, but he was moved to second after Crisp's return on Friday. With Jaso as the designated hitter, Norris and his .352 batting average were in the seven-hole.
Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.