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Oakland Athletics - PlayerWatch

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

C Derek Norris (back spasms) was unavailable for Monday's game against the Blue Jays, and is being listed as day-to-day. Back injuries can be a tricky thing to heal, so the Athletics will certainly take a cautious approach with the backstop. The fact that Norris' back could stiffen up during Oakland's five-hour long plane ride out of Toronto is a little concerning to Athletics manager Bob Melvin. "Sitting around like that for a long period of time isn't exactly what he needs right now, but there's not much we can do about that." Norris is hitting just .230 this season, but has a respectable .333 on-base percentage and has good power for a catcher.

RHP Dan Straily threw a career-high 7 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays on Monday but walked away with the no-decision. Straily was dominant for much of the game, and got tagged with just one run after reliever Ryan Cook allowed an inherited run to score in the eighth inning of an eventual A's win. The 24-year-old Straily walked three and struck out five, and snapped a personal four-game losing streak. "I was able to execute pitches, keep the ball down in the zone, and that's something I haven't been able to do the last few times out," Straily said after the game. Straily failed to make it out of the fifth inning in each of his last three starts, so, while his start against the Blue Jays was impressive, it's not necessarily a sign of things to come.

RHP Bartolo Colon will look to become the second 15-game winner in the majors when he gets the ball for Tuesday' series opener against the Astros. The right-hander is also looking to bounce back after his shortest outing of the season. Colon, who has lost back-to-back starts just once this season, was tagged for five runs over 2 2/3 innings in a loss to the Reds. In nine career starts against Houston, Colon is 6-2 with a 3.02 ERA. Three of those starts have come this season, and Colon won all of them. Over 19 innings, Colon has held the Astros to a 1.89 ERA.

CF Coco Crisp (left wrist) was held out of the lineup for Monday's series finale against the Blue Jays and is considered day-to-day. Crisp hurt himself diving for a ball in Sunday's loss to Toronto, but manager Bob Melvin doesn't anticipate Crisp having to make a trip to the disabled list. "We'll have to see (how he feels) tomorrow," Melvin said. "(But) I don't think we're there." Crisp has been a steady bat in Oakland's lineup, flashing some pop -- 10 homers -- to go along with his customary game-changing speed. Chris Young will likely man center field during Crisp's absence. Young hit a solo homer, his 10th of the season, in Monday's win.

RF Josh Reddick had a monster series against the Blue Jays during Oakland's four-game stay in Toronto, going 6-for-14 with five homers and eight RBIs. The five home runs doubled Reddick's total for the season, and could be a sign of things to come. Reddick hit a career-high 32 homers in 2012, so it's certainly possible for him to go on a power surge for the remainder of the season. He's still failing to hit for average, but he could be a big power bat for Oakland down the stretch.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130813/oakland-athletics-playerwatch