6/5/2014 1:40 P.M. ET
Blanks, A's enjoying time together since trade
By Nate Taylor / Special to MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Each day, Kyle Blanks learns something new about the A's, the newest team in his nine-year career. The observations from Blanks have all been positive and he has noticed the uplifting chemistry in the clubhouse.
Blanks, a journeyman for the majority of his career, has appreciated the A's allowing him to play first base and get in a rhythm at the plate. Blanks has rewarded their faith with strong production in his short stint with the club.
Although he was not in Thursday's lineup, Blanks has been reliable in his 16 games with the A's. He has recorded at least one hit in his last six games, and has a .303 average. Blanks has also displayed his power with two homers in his last five games.
Blanks' teammates continue to impress him while being a good influence on his attitude each day.
"I think this team has the feel where it's like a summer ball team," Blanks said. "Everyone is good. Everyone has fun. Everyone gets along. It's a very unique dynamic to where coming to the field every day is a fun day. It doesn't really feel like work. It's a pretty special team."
The A's acquired Blanks from the Padres in a trade on May 15 -- sending Minor League outfielder Jack Goebbert and pitcher Ronald Herrera to San Diego. A's manager Bob Melvin said the club needed Blanks to provide more plate discipline as a right-handed hitter. Blanks' defense at first base, and in the outfield, was a considered a bonus. He has not recorded an error this season.
"He's done a terrific job for us," Melvin said. "Very athletic for a big guy and can play that outfield, and have some versatility. He's hit a couple of homers for us and he's even got some decent at-bats against some right-handed pitching, too. He's been a nice upgrade for us."
Crisp back in lineup; Cespedes serves as DH
NEW YORK -- Coco Crisp returned the A's lineup for Thursday's series finale after missing Wednesday's 7-4 victory over the Yankees with ongoing neck soreness. Crisp was back in the leadoff spot and playing in center field.
Crisp, who sustained a neck strain about a month ago, is more likely to receive more days off in the upcoming weeks to help it heal.
"I don't know when he's going to be fully healthy," manager Bob Melvin said. "There probably will be some days here where he'll be on and days when he'll be off to try to get him healthier."
Yoenis Cespedes was not in the field for Thursday's game as he served as the designated hitter. Brandon Moss took Cespedes' usual place in left field. Melvin made the decision to have Cespedes get a little bit of a break to help with the soreness in his right shoulder.
Melvin said Cespedes doesn't feel discomfort when he swings the bat, but more when he has to make a throw in the outfield.
"He is having a little bit of those shoulder problems still," Melvin said. "We're trying to take as much pressure off as we can. This is as much of a day off without getting a full day off as I can give him today."
Pitcher Eric O'Flaherty is getting closer to making his return to the A's. O'Flaherty is scheduled to pitch an inning for Triple-A Stockton on Friday. Melvin said O'Flaherty should be done with simulated bullpens as he has been recovering from Tommy John surgery in May 2013.
"He's going to be pitching regular games now," Melvin said.
It is still unclear how many games O'Flaherty will pitch in the Minors. Melvin said he still hopes O'Flaherty will return to the A's in early July.
Nate Taylor is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.