OAKLAND -- Coco Crisp is off tonight against Mariners left-hander Joe Saunders, with the A's hoping tonight and Thursday's off day will be enough for Crisp to put a nagging sore wrist completely behind him. That means it's Jed Lowrie in the leadoff spot for the fourth time this season tonight. In his first three starts batting leadoff, Lowrie is 6-for-12 with a .600 on-base percentage.
Small sample size, of course, but it speaks to Lowrie's versatility in the lineup. Although he said himself after his last leadoff start that he doesn't alter his approach aside from the first at-bat, when he'll usually try to see more pitches from the opposing starter. Lowrie has also hit the Mariners well this season -- .396 with nine doubles and 10 RBIs in 13 games -- though he's 4-for-18 lifetime against Saunders.
Lowrie won't play defense, with manager Bob Melvin trying to rest him for September -- part of the design bringing in Alberto Callaspo. Here's the full lineup for the A's tonight:
And the Mariners lineup against A's right-hander Sonny Gray, who's making his second start at the Coliseum:
* Brett Anderson will throw about 65 pitches in his rehab start at Single-A Stockton on Thursday, with the A's mostly wanting to see Anderson emerge from the start healthy and with "crispness on his pitches," Melvin said.
Melvin still isn't ruling out the possibility Anderson could rejoin the A's after that start, but was vague when asked what the criteria will be, saying: "We'll monitor everything."
"But to this point everything we've seen so far would suggest that he's almost ready to go," Melvin said.
* The A's are cautiously optimistic Bartolo Colon will be able to return after 15 days from his left groin strain. Colon "felt a little bit better yesterday," Melvin said. "But until we get him on a mound I'm not really sure where we're going with this." There's no target date for that yet, Melvin said.
* Crisp felt fine after one at-bat right-handed in Monday night's game, but Melvin said he didn't want to have Crisp bat multiple times against Saunders right-handed, which is the side more affected by his sore wrist. Crisp will be in the lineup Wednesday.
* Gray has a couple tough acts to follow -- Jarrod Parker's complete game in Monday night's 2-1 A's win, and his own Coliseum debut last week, in which Gray threw eight scoreless innings against the Astros with nine strikeouts. He threw 118 pitches in that game, and Melvin said he'll probably be on a more restricted pitch count tonight.
-- Matt Kawahara