Coco Crisp nearly robs homer, suffers strained neck in collision with wall

Mark Townsend

Oakland A's center fielder Coco Crisp has never been afraid to sell out or risk bodily harm in order to make a difference making play in the field. With that in mind, and with the stakes undeniably higher this weekend during their series against the Los Angeles Angels, it should come as no surprise that Crisp was willing to crash and burn in hopes of bringing back a home run ball off the bat of Chris Iannetta.

The incredible effort nearly paid off, too. Crisp actually had the ball in his glove momentarily. However, the jolt from crashing into the wall knocked the ball loose, allowing it to harmlessly fall over the fence for a two-run homer that opened the scoring in the Angels eventual 4-0 win.  

Crisp, on the other hand, took a hard impact on his right shoulder, and then crashed anything but harmlessly to the ground, landing directly on his back. Crisp stayed down for several minutes while the A's athletic trainer, manager Bob Melvin and several of his teammates surrounded him. Eventually, he was able to walk off the field under his own power to a respectful applause from Angels fans, but obviously wasn't feeling well. 

After the game, the A's announced Crisp suffered a strained neck, which has been a reoccurring issue for him this season thanks to efforts like this one.

(USA TODAY Sports)
(USA TODAY Sports)

"Hopefully it's not too long," said Jon Lester, who gave up the home run. "He hit the wall hard and he hit the ground hard. We all know that he's struggled in the past with some neck stuff, so hopefully he didn't aggravate that too bad and, best-case scenario, it's only a couple days or a day, I don't know. But we can't afford to lose a guy like that for too long."

At this point Crisp is considered day-to-day. Ideally, the A's would like to give him as many days as he needs to heal up and approach one-hundred percent, but there might be a little more urgency now that they're trailing the Angels by three games in the AL West.

Either way, the A's would probably like to see Crisp tone down his style a little bit so he can stay on the field. He even admitted after the game that he's tried to exercise more caution, but doesn't feel like himself when he does. 

"But when I play it safe, I don't really feel like myself, because usually I just throw my body out there, whatever happens happens, and I just kind of deal with the consequences," he said. "Today, one of those things where I'm running back and I know I can make the play and I know it's going to be some consequences that come along with it. Just take those chances, like most guys do. Got the bad end of the wall, but I felt like I could've made the play."

The final words are the keys words. Crisp felt like he could make the play. As long as that thought is running through his mind, you can expect similar efforts going forward.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!