8/2/2014 9:54 P.M. ET
Punto headed to DL with right hamstring strain
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- A's infielder Nick Punto sustained a right hamstring strain in the middle of Saturday's 8-3 win over the Royals and is expected to be placed on the disabled list on Sunday.
After singling in the fifth, Punto was rounding third base before retracing his steps on a Jed Lowrie single when he slipped and reached for the ground in pain, bringing manager Bob Melvin and an A's trainer out of the dugout immediately. Eric Sogard replaced him on the bases.
It will be the first DL stint of the season for Punto, who also missed a handful of games in May with a left calf strain.
His replacement is likely to be either Andy Parrino or Nate Freiman, who was scratched from Triple-A Sacramento's lineup on Saturday -- an indicator that he may very well already be heading back to Oakland.
Crisp no closer to return, but DL not in plans
OAKLAND -- Coco Crisp missed his seventh consecutive game on Saturday because of lingering neck issues and is no closer to returning to the lineup, but the A's have no plans to put their center fielder on the disabled list.
"He's shown that he doesn't need any rehab, and when he's been off for periods of time, he's been able to come back and be productive right away," said manager Bob Melvin. "For those reasons, we're always hesitant to put him on the DL. And when he turns a corner, he usually turns the corner pretty quickly, and the next thing you know, he's in the lineup. He's the one guy we're really careful about putting on the DL."
Crisp received several trigger point injections earlier this week to alleviate muscle pain, but he's yet to resume baseball activity, making his availability for Sunday's finale against the Royals doubtful.
That leaves Melvin with a three-man bench for another day -- an inconvenience for any manager, but particularly for one who so often plays to matchups.
"It makes things a little more difficult, certainly early," said Melvin. "But we've also had guys who have come along to the point where we're not matching up with them like we did in the past, whether it's [Derek] Norris or [Brandon] Moss. But it can be difficult with a three-man bench to make some of the moves we do.
"You always want someone on there who can do multiple things and in case someone gets hurt, but it's more of a challenge this way."
Cespedes gone, Melvin shuffling middle of lineup
OAKLAND -- Saturday marked the second day of the post-Yoenis Cespedes era in Oakland, where the A's are having to do some shuffling to the middle of their lineup without the Cuban slugger in tow.
Cespedes, traded to the Red Sox on Thursday in a deal that netted the A's Jon Lester, split his time between the third and fourth spots of the lineup during his time in Oakland. Now, a mishmash of players will fill those roles.
On Saturday, it was Josh Donaldson batting third and Derek Norris fourth against a lefty, with Jonny Gomes hitting fifth in his A's season debut, which is how manager Bob Melvin is forecasting most games when the A's are facing a southpaw. A streaking Josh Reddick could find his way back into this mix, too, at some point.
Against right-handers, Melvin plans to let Moss assume cleanup duties, with Jed Lowrie or Stephen Vogt batting behind him.
Moss received a rare day off Saturday amid an equally rare slump, a 20-game span in which he's hitting just .188.
"A little bit of a funk right now," said Melvin, "but he never gets a day off now, and it just feels like it's the right time to give him a day off."
• Infielder Jake Elmore, designated for assignment by the A's on Thursday, has been claimed off waivers by the Reds.
Elmore batted .282 with 18 RBIs in 47 games for Triple-A Sacramento.