Crisp scratched from lineup with sore neck

A's option Alcantara, recall Hahn to start series finale

Crisp scratched from lineup with sore neck

OAKLAND -- The A's scratched Coco Crisp from Sunday's starting lineup because of neck soreness and had earlier optioned reserve infielder Arismendy Alcantara to Triple-A, leaving them shorthanded ahead of their series finale against the Rays.

Alcantara was sent down to make room for Sunday starter Jesse Hahn. Crisp, who collided with the wall in center field Saturday against Tampa Bay but remained in the game, woke up this morning with a stiff neck. The 36-year-old has dealt with neck injuries each of the last two seasons.

"As we've seen last year, that's something we don't want to fool around with," said Melvin, adding Crisp's collision with the wall Saturday "may have had something to do with it."

Oakland had just one healthy bench option, backup catcher Matt McBride. Josh Reddick (back soreness) was scratched from Saturday's lineup and didn't start Sunday, but entered as a defensive replacement in right field in the eighth inning. 

Danny Valencia made his first start of the season in right field and Jake Smolinski shifted to center in place of Crisp. Yonder Alonso, initially scheduled to sit against Rays lefty Blake Snell, started at first.

Hill completes bullpen session

A's lefty Rich Hill threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Sunday morning with protective tape over the blister on his left middle finger. It's his first bullpen since leaving his start July 17 after throwing just five pitches.

The A's don't have a return date set for Hill, but he's encouraged with the healing process.

"I know where we were six days ago to today. It's made a lot of progress," Hill said. "Hopefully another few days will see a lot more progress."

Hill initially developed the blister prior the start to the second half of the season before it "ripped open" against the Blue Jays. Hill said it's taking longer to heal this time because the skin is raw.

He's using several remedies to treat the blister, ranging from laser treatment to treating it with pickle juice. Melvin said he'll need to throw at least one more bullpen -- and it must be without wearing a protective layer -- before the team will consider starting Hill.

Mark Chiarelli is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.