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Athletics injury roundup: Coco Crisp may be available off the bench; Blanks, Punto, Gentry injury updates; Parker, Griffin begin tossing balls or socks

Coco may be available off the bench tonight.
Coco may be available off the bench tonight.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Here are Athletics injury updates on Coco Crisp, Craig Gentry, Kyle Blanks, Nick Punto, Jarrod Parker, and A.J. Griffin:

Coco Crisp (possibly available off the bench)

While center fielder Coco Crisp remains out of the starting lineup with his neck issue, he will be taking batting practice Monday, and could be available off the bench.

Craig Gentry (Aug. 15-22)

Outfielder Craig Gentry, who went on the disabled list on July 28 with a broken right hand, is expected to return in about 2-3 weeks.

Kyle Blanks (rehab potentially soon)

First baseman/outfielder Kyle Blanks, who went on the disabled list June 24 with a severe left cain strain, will run the bases Tuesday and Thursday, and will begin a rehab assignment shortly after if all goes well.

Nick Punto (August 18)

Infielder Nick Punto was placed on the disabled list on August 3 after suffering a right hamstring strain rounding third in Saturday's game. According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser, Punto is not expected to miss much more than the 15 day minimum.

Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin

Pitchers Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin, both out for the year following Tommy John surgery, were seen beginning throwing programs at the Coliseum:

It is hoped that both pitchers will return in early-to-mid 2015.

Analysis: August promotions and demotions

The impending returns of Craig Gentry, Kyle Blanks, and Nick Punto could create a bit of a roster crunch for a brief period at the end of August before rosters expand on September 1. My predictions for demotions:

  1. Eric Sogard will be optioned to Sacramento with Nick Punto returns.
  2. Nate Freiman will be optioned to Sacramento when Kyle Blanks returns.
  3. Josh Reddick will be optioned to Sacramento when Craig Gentry returns, unless Gentry returns very late in August, in which case the A's will temporarily play short a reliever (probably Ryan Cook).
The other three non-pitchers without significant impediments to optional assignment are:
  1. John Jaso
  2. Derek Norris
  3. Stephen Vogt
Well, that's not happening.

Billy Burns

It would be nice if there was a way for Billy Burns to not burn up an option year for 2014. Burns was optioned to Sacramento on July 31, and if recalled by August 19 would avoid burning an option year this year. In addition to the six above, Kyle Blanks and Craig Gentry are the other two Athletics who have options remaining.

On balance, absent a further injury this month, I don't see Billy Burns coming up to the big league club before September call-ups. Hopefully his progression in the minor leagues obviates the need for a 2017 option year.

A Scott Sizemore signing creates an active roster crunch in August

If the conversations with Scott Sizemore progress into a major league signing, this will create a significant roster crunch at second base if Nick Punto returns before roster expansion.

Perhaps releasing the struggling Alberto Callaspo, whose contract is up after this season, might not be such a radical idea if everybody gets healthy before rosters expand. Callaspo actually does have an option remaining but has the right to refuse assignment. Who knows if he would be willing to accept such an assignment knowing he'd be back in a week or two once rosters expand, but also at the mercy of another injury to a postseason-eligible player occurring to become eligible for the postseason roster?