The Oakland A’s defensive ace, right fielder Josh Reddick was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. This conveniently made it possible for the Athletics to re-instate reliever Ryan Cook from the disabled list without having to demote anyone. There had been talk of sending reliever Luke Gregerson to Triple-A Sacramento but for at least two weeks that will be a non-issue for the A’s. Reddick hyper-extended his knee Sunday as the A’s completed a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels.
Yes, Reddick plays incredible, sometimes unbelievable defense in right field. In the A’s first spring training game against the San Francisco Giants he made, what has been dubbed by many, “the catch of the year” not once but twice, robbing the Giants’ Mike Morse of two home runs. He deserves his nickname, “Spiderman.” His home run saving defense will be missed by the A’s but his lack of production at the plate will not.
He will still be in the clubhouse continuing to bring his infectious spirit and outrageous creativity to the team but having him out of the lineup could benefit the A’s. Reddick is currently batting just .214. While many think his offensive production has increased from April to May, that is actually not the case.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, Reddick hit .241 in 25 games in March and April. His batting average in the same number of games during the month of May? .188. He brought attention to himself by changing his walk-up song and then hitting a grand slam. Yet, one or two great performances doesn’t make up for a batting average that measly.
As a consequence of Reddick’s absence outfielder Craig Gentry will see more consistent playing time. Gentry is hitting .270 having played in just nine fewer games than Reddick. Gentry also has struck out only 26 times to Reddick’s 41 strikeout total. The two weeks without Reddick will also give manager Bob Melvin more flexibility with the lineup. It can only mean more at-bats for guys like Alberto Callaspo, Kyle Blanks and recent call-up Stephen Vogt.
Vogt should have made the opening day roster but the team chose to keep first baseman Daric Barton and an extra reliever in the bullpen over the option of carrying three catchers. Vogt hit .364 with 19 RBI in 29 games with Triple-A Sacramento to start the season. He hit .252 in 47 games with Oakland last season, his only significant time in the big leagues. It will be interesting to see how his .364 average carries over into the majors with some consistent at-bats.
Reddick will be missed but this is more of an opportunity for the Athletics. It gives them a chance to explore their options and see who excels when given the chance.