Coco Crisp is back from the disabled list after missing five weeks following elbow surgery and to make room for him on the roster the A’s demoted Craig Gentry to Triple-A.
Crisp, who was moved from center field to left field before the surgery, is in the lineup there tonight and leading off against the Twins in what will be his season debut.
Gentry is 31 years old, has been a regular in the majors since 2012, and hasn’t seen significant action in the minors since 2011, but he has a minor-league option remaining and got off to a brutal 3-for-35 (.086) start. He’ll be back in Oakland at some point this season, whenever the A’s decide they need his speed and defense again.
An aside: A friend of mine has a huge crush on Gentry, to the point that she calls him “kitten face” on a regular basis. We’re going to the A’s-Twins game tonight and the roster move to demote Gentry was announced three hours before we left for Target Field. Baseball can be a cruel game, for players hitting .086 and for people who call players hitting .086 “kitten face.”
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.