Crisp had started 39 of Kansas City's previous 40 games in center field.
"His shoulder is tender. Occasionally it's going to get that way," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "We're going to continue to monitor that and get it [rest] when we can. With today being a day game, giving us a longer period of time [to rest his shoulder] going into these day games we have, I thought it was a good time for it."
Crisp is batting .245, but his ability to draw walks, 26 so far, has given him a .360 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot. He leads the Royals with 29 runs scored.
Mitch Maier replaced Crisp in center field, and David DeJesus moved into his leadoff spot. Crisp was a reluctant bench-sitter.
"He never wants out. He'll play through anything. He's tough," Hillman said. "I can see it's bothering him, but even when I asked him last night, he said, 'No, I don't need a day.'"
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.