OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Coco Crisp hopes to be speeding around the bases with Rajai Davis, helping the Oakland Athletics contend for their first AL West title since 2006.
"With our legs, we can definitely help put pressure on the opposing team, and hopefully that will cause errors and some mistakes that normally wouldn't happen," Crisp said Wednesday after finalizing a $5.25 million, one-year contract.
The 30-year-old Crisp can play all three outfield positions but primarily is a center fielder. While the A's have been happy with Davis, he might wind up playing one of the corner spots to clear room for Crisp in center.
Crisp didn't play after June 12 last season because of surgery on both shoulders. He hit .228 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 49 games for the Kansas City Royals, who declined an $8 million option and paid a $500,000 buyout.
Oakland gave him a $4.75 million salary next year as part of a deal that includes a $5.75 million club option for 2011 with a $500,000 buyout.
"He's a great defender. He's a great baserunner, a good hitter, a good contact guy, a player we've always had interest in. So when we had the chance, we were going to try to be aggressive and get him," A's general manager Billy Beane said. "We tried to trade for him in his previous stops and weren't successful, so we weren't going to let this opportunity pass."
Crisp has a .277 career average in eight big league seasons with 59 homers, 327 RBIs and 137 steals for Cleveland, Boston and the Royals.
"I'm a guy that can steal some bases for the ballclub," he said. "You get into the pitcher's head, catchers, the manager's head. They have to change their defensive scheme slightly."
He hopes to be recovered from the surgeries and ready by opening day, if not the start of spring training.
"The main thing for me is just go out there and play hard, give it 100 percent, whether it's running the bases, defensively," he said. "I think I put the pressure on myself more in that fashion than in actual numbers."
Born in Los Angeles, he was happy to join a team in California. He has a grandmother, aunt and cousins in the Bay Area.
"I'm an Oakland Raiders fan, so those are all huge, huge bonuses for me," he said. "I'm excited, though, to join the ballclub and hopefully help the team move up in the division and hopefully win the division. That would be nice."