Surprise, Ariz. Bobby Crosby's second at-bat showed the Oakland Athletics their shortstop is back.
He's certainly not afraid to swing away as usual now that his bad back is finally healthy again.
After Crosby grounded out on a high chopper in the first on the second pitch from Kansas City's Brian Bannister, the 2004 AL Rookie of the Year lined a 3-1 offering to the gap in left-center for a double Wednesday night in his first game action since Aug. 21. Oakland came back to win, 11-10. That one hit was an important step forward in Crosby's progress.
"You can do it in Double-A or Triple-A. Even though it was a spring training game, it means something to me," he said. "It's been a while, it's been since August. You can play in all the minor league games you want, but it's not the same adrenaline. You're all amped up. I'm glad it's out of the way and I can have fun and play."
Mike Piazza followed Crosby's first at-bat with his second homer of the spring, a solo shot to right-center that hit off a picnic tent. Then in the third, the A's got three straight homers on five pitches: First a three-run homer from Nick Swisher, then back-to-back solo shots by Mark Ellis and Dan Johnson.
Crosby, who batted second, hit again in the inning and grounded out to third. He was done after the bottom half of the third, giving way to Donnie Murphy.
"He looked good," manager Bob Geren said. "He looked like his strike zone was good. I was happy to see him out there. He dove for a ball and made a couple of athletic plays. He showed he was healthy."
Crosby finished 1-for-3 in his much-awaited return to the lineup after appearing in multiple minor league games and demonstrating he was ready to go. He's only been pain-free since late January.
"He looks good," third baseman Eric Chavez said. "He's been saying he's ready to go and I trust what he's saying."
The Royals announced that heralded prospect Alex Gordon, the second overall draft pick in 2005, would be the club's starting third baseman this season, a reward for his fine spring.