Crisp said before Thursday night's exhibition game against San Francisco at AT&T Park that he will have the surgery on Friday to remove a bone chip and spurs.
"I did it my first at-bat of spring," Crisp said. "It was just like a strained triceps, but I guess that might have done something else in there in the process. Like right now, I'm good. And then, it will all of the sudden lock up on me and I can't bend my arm but 90 degrees and I can't play."
The A's did not announce a roster move but they're expected to place Crisp on the 15-day disabled list soon.
Typical recovery time is six to eight weeks, but Crisp sounded optimistic and earlier tweeted that he was hopeful of returning sooner.
"Mine's not major so I'm trying my best to get back in three days," Crisp said. "I'll try to get back as soon as possible, so we'll see. Hopefully it doesn't take even half that time. You just never know."
Crisp, who underwent a CAT scan on Thursday which revealed the damage, has not played since March 23. He missed eight days earlier this spring because of pain in his elbow.
"Hopefully, as far as procedures goes, it's not that involved," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "Hopefully we get him back sooner than later."
The 35-year-old has been Oakland's starting center fielder the previous five seasons, but was on the disabled list four times. The A's moved Crisp to left field in hopes of keeping him more healthy.
With Crisp headed for the DL, Melvin is left scrambling to find a starter just four days before opening day.
Billy Burns started in left field against the Giants on Thursday. Melvin had planned to start newly acquired Ben Zobrist, but needed him in the infield after second baseman Eric Sogard was scratched because of sickness.
Crisp is the second member of the A's projected starting outfield who is expected to open the season on the disabled list. Josh Reddick, who has been slowed by a strained oblique, could also be out when Oakland hosts the Texas Rangers on Monday.
"Depth's been something that we've always taken a hard look at," Melvin said. "Situations like this is where it comes into play."