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Everything went right for the Oakland A’s on the field Wednesday, and they’ll hope that the news gets more encouraging involving outfielder Craig Gentry’s injured back.
The A’s thumped the Giants 10-5 at Scottsdale Stadium in the exhibition opener for both teams. Earlier in the day, manager Bob Melvin announced that Gentry will be sidelined the next 10 days for a lower back strain that is still giving him problems.
“He's not where the training staff would like to see him be in terms of strength,” Melvin told reporters before Wednesday’s game.
Gentry aggravated his back Thursday and has been held out of baseball activity since. But Melvin expressed optimism that the fleet-footed Gentry, slated to play a key role off the bench as the fourth outfielder, would still be ready for Opening Night if he can return to the field after this 10-day period of rest. His progress will be worth monitoring.
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All in all, it was an eventful day for the A’s by Cactus League opener standards. Right fielder Josh Reddick made not one but two fence-scaling, home run-robbing catches of deep drives off the bat of Michael Morse. Both plays created a buzz around the majors, with the MLB Network’s Kevin Millar claiming the first one was the “best catch I’ve ever seen!”
The A’s pounded out 16 hits and led 10-0 by the fourth inning. Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss and Stephen Vogt all drove in two runs. Sam Fuld, Nick Punto and Alberto Callaspo each had two hits and scored two runs. Jesse Chavez got off to a strong start in his bid for a bullpen spot, throwing two scoreless innings with a strikeout.
It was an encouraging A’s debut for Fuld, a non-roster outfielder who stands to get more playing time while Gentry is sidelined. Michael Taylor might also be in line for more time, and it’s a chance for both players to open eyes in their bid to make the 25-man roster.