Coco looking like old self early in season

Outfielder delivers game-winning HR in sweep-clinching win at Seattle

Coco looking like old self early in season

SEATTLE -- Coco Crisp appears very much healthy, and so does his bat.

The A's outfielder, stuck on the sidelines for much of last season because of myriad injuries, is seemingly relevant again; his most recent act, a game-winning home run against Mariners reliever Nick Vincent in a 10-inning, 2-1 victory on Sunday, confirmed as much.

"That's what he does," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He's a unique guy that can hit home runs from the leadoff spot, has a flair for the dramatic. We're finally seeing him healthy and confident, and he's had a big impact these last few games."

"He's put in so much work this offseason and Spring Training, just a completely different player than we saw last year," said starter Chris Bassitt, who worked seven strong innings. "He's just doing way more than we've ever really seen."

Bassitt goes seven strong

That's likely a stretch, but it brings the point home that Crisp's contributions have been missed for far too long -- long enough that several of the club's current crop of players have never witnessed this version of Crisp, who also collected two hits and two stolen bases in Saturday's win.

His latest hit marked his first home run since Aug. 27, 2014.

"Last year and the year before I was battling some stuff," Crisp said. "It makes it tough trying to play at this level when you're not 100 percent, so I'm still staying on top of it, even did some treatment for my neck today."

The 36-year-old's chronic neck issue has been the biggest detriment to his play the last two seasons. Last year, he struggled to drive the ball to left because of it, unable to even turn his neck. That prompted him to change back to his old batting stance.

"It's just see the ball, hit the ball and whatever happens happens, not trying to hit home runs," Crisp said. "Step early, let my hands do the work.

"Hopefully I can continue to be in this state of health where I can continue to be myself and have the approach that I want. We'll see how it goes, but right now I feel good."

Said Melvin: "He's a pretty motivated guy right now."

Jane Lee is a reporter for Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.