OAKLAND -- The A's made it rather clear earlier this week they'd like to have lefty Brett Anderson back as a reliever, before changing their tune on Saturday in the wake of news that starter Bartolo Colon is headed to the disabled list.
Now, manager Bob Melvin says, Anderson could indeed assume starting duties upon his return from a stress fracture in his right foot.
That much was clear when they opted to start him in Triple-A Sacramento's game on Saturday, rather than pitch him in relief, as originally planned. And instead of going two innings in the rehab stint, the goal was three, with 50 pitches total being his limit.
Anderson got to 49 pitches before being pulled with one out in the third inning. He gave up two earned runs on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
"Really, the only difference is we're pitching him one more inning, and he's starting the game," Melvin said. "More than anything, it's about keeping our options open with Brett and where our needs are when he's potentially ready to come back."
Lefty Tommy Milone will start in place of Colon on Sunday, though his inconsistencies this season make Anderson's availability as a starter all the more ideal for the contending A's.
Crisp not expected to start until at least Monday
OAKLAND -- Coco Crisp's sore left wrist kept him out of the starting lineup for a sixth straight game on Saturday, and the A's outfielder isn't expected back in the until Monday at the earliest.
That didn't keep him from pinch-hitting in the eighth inning of Saturday's 7-1 loss to the Indians, flying out to shallow left-center to strand two runners in his first at-bat since Sunday.
"Probably a pretty good chance he won't be in there tomorrow," manager Bob Melvin said before the game. "Hopefully, we're looking at Monday."
With Crisp out of the mix, Yoenis Cespedes was back in center field, with Seth Smith manning left.
A's pitchers share bond thanks to new facial hair
OAKLAND -- Tommy Milone suspected a change was coming. He first noticed the shift while watching the A's play on TV. The cameras would zoom in on Oakland's starters, and there they were: mustaches, sported by the rotation with varied success since their trip to Toronto earlier in the week.
Dan Straily sent a photo of his progress to Milone, who was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento earlier this month and will start Sunday in place of Bartolo Colon, while A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker -- ringleaders of the operation -- officially extended the invitation to join in.
"Jarrod and I just kind of had mustaches at the same time," Griffin said. "We decided we'd just have mustaches, and we got some of the other guys to do it too."
"Each day, obviously one of the starters is throwing so we don't talk to him," Parker added. "When we're in the dugout, you know, killing nine innings of baseball, we have to think of things to entertain ourselves."
The interesting thing about the mustaches is that none of them look particularly good. Griffin's flaunts the most growth, while Parker's is a throwback to a simpler, greasier time. Sonny Gray, Oakland's 23-year-old right-hander, has struggled to keep pace.
"He hasn't hit puberty yet," A's middle reliever Jesse Chavez said.
Parker yielded one run in a career-best 8 1/3 innings in his last start against the Astros and is 6-0 with a 2.55 ERA over his last 14 starts. All the credit, he said, goes to the mustache.
"It's been really effective lately," Parker said. "It's been able to keep the ball down, change speeds. It's got a good breaking ball, too."
Parker added that his looks the best, though Griffin felt similarly about the golden accessory atop his upper lip.
"I don't even know if there is a best," Milone said. "I'm definitely aware of it, and I've definitely been told that I need to start growing a mustache. We'll see."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Jeff Kirshman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.