Coco celebrates everyday role with leadoff HR

Veteran is on pace for 130 games after playing in 44 in 2015

Coco celebrates everyday role with leadoff HR

OAKLAND -- Coco Crisp has swiftly morphed into an everyday player again, and he's been the healthy, productive kind the A's haven't seen in years.

Playing in his 15th consecutive game on Monday afternoon, matching his longest such streak since 2014, Crisp celebrated in style, launching a leadoff home run in the A's 3-2 victory over the Twins.

"He's a gamer," starter Kendall Graveman said. "The past couple weeks he's taken great approaches at the plate, and he doesn't chase, he makes you work. He's doing a great job for us, and he's also playing good defense. I'm just thankful that he's in the lineup every day and playing the way he is."

It was the 16th career leadoff homer for the veteran, who, after going 1-for-3 in Monday's win, is batting .280 with 20 RBIs over his last 30 games.

That he's even played in as many games -- 42 overall -- is a pleasant surprise for an A's club that initially pegged him as a likely bench player this season because of his injury-prone past.

So much for that.

Crisp, 36, is on pace to play in 130 games this year, and it just so happens he needs exactly that many -- or 550 plate appearances this season -- for his 2017 option worth $13 million to vest.

Crisp's RBI single

"As long as I can go out there and give whatever I got, whatever it is, 100 percent, then I'm going to try to do that," Crisp said. "If they keep throwing me out there, then I want to be out there. It's working out."

"It's a lot of stability for us, on top of the fact he's productive," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He's been here for a while. Guys know what he's all about and how he plays the game. It's easy for me having a guy like that, who plays all-out, who plays hard all the time. For some of the new guys coming in, this is how we play. And then when he's healthy, he's usually productive, and he definitely is."

Teammates are taking notice, particularly the few who have previously been witness to a healthy Crisp, who was limited to 44 games last year and played in 126 in 2014.

"It's awesome. It's so fun to watch, because he's such a sparkplug," A's mainstay Sean Doolittle said. "He sets the tone for the entire offense with the energy that he brings.

"Seeing the way that he's been moving around the field and running balls down in the outfield and what he's been doing on the base paths and making stuff happen, it's so awesome to see because he's so important to our team."

Jane Lee has covered the A's for since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.