SEATTLE – Josh Reddick was absent from the lineup for the second game in a row Friday, but the Oakland A’s right fielder kept himself busy trying to shake his early-season slump.
Reddick worked extensively with hitting coach Chili Davis in the cage before the A’s took the field for regular batting practice for Friday’s series opener against the Seattle Mariners.
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A 3-for-29 start to his season has led to justified speculation about Reddick’s status on the major league roster. With outfielder Craig Gentry due to come off the D.L. perhaps as early as Saturday, Reddick would seem to be a candidate to be ticketed for Triple-A considering he has minor league options remaining.
But A’s manager Bob Melvin said there’s a “good chance” Gentry would join the active roster Saturday. He also said Reddick would likely return to the lineup Saturday, so that suggests someone else may be headed out. One source with knowledge of the situation said the A’s are considering designating Sam Fuld for assignment, even though the outfielder has been a spark plug for the A’s in extended playing time so far.
First baseman Daric Barton would also seem a candidate to be bumped should the A’s deem Fuld too valuable to let go.
As for Reddick, he said he’s frustrated to come out of the gate hitting .103 after a spring training in which he hit .333 and led the A’s with 15 RBI.
“I go from hitting over .300 in spring training, in hopes of getting back to where I should be in the lineup -- in the 3 or the 5 hole -- and this (happens),” Reddick said before the game. “It’s just been really frustrating, especially since a week-and-a-half ago I was hitting everything on the barrel.”
Reddick said his extra work in the cage has focused on his lower half. From watching video, he and Davis found that his front hip has been flying open during his swing,causing him to pull his head off the ball.
“I came out and took early batting practice and that’s all I worked on, making sure I stayed through the ball,” he said.
Melvin said he didn’t think the best remedy for a slumping hitter was facing Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who started Friday’s game for Seattle. He also said a couple days off might help Reddick clear his head.
As for whether he could be a candidate for demotion, Reddick replied: “Bob’s told me not to worry about that kind of thing, so I try my best not to worry about it.”