OAKLAND -- Oakland Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick was hearing the grumbling of the masses when he started the season hitless in his first 10 at-bats. Strangely, it wasn't his bat the fans were taking issue with.
It was his beard.
"Hopefully people quit telling me to shave now, because it's not going to happen," Reddick said after breaking out of his slump with a four-RBI day. "It's my face. I'll do what I want with it."
Reddick is engaged in a beard growing competition with a WWE wrestler and believes it's far too early to get superstitious about his grizzly appearance. He proved that point on Thursday in the A's 8-2 win over the Mariners, by going 2 for 3 with his first home run of 2013. After slumping in the first three games, Reddick's first inning two-run homer set the tone for the day.
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"It makes you relax some," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "So hopefully we're past all of that."
Home runs garner the most attention, but it was Reddick's RBI double to left field that was the most indicative of his improvement. Reddick spent all spring working on opposite field hitting with A's hitting coach Chili Davis and Melvin, something he believes will prevent prolonged slumps.
"It's going to improve my game with driving in more runs," Reddick said. "I realize with a guy on second and an open base I'm not going to see too many fastballs. I just have to lean over the plate, get something soft and hit it over the shortstop."
Reddick's double drove in Jed Lowrie, who reached base with a double of his own. Lowrie has four doubles over his last two games. That same inning, Yoenis Cespedes drove in Reddick with a line-drive home run, his second of the season.
After being held to one run and just six hits over the first two games, the A's have avoided a hairy situation by finding their offensive groove. Reddick led the A's in 2012 with 32 home runs and 85 RBI. If he can find a way to improve on that season, Oakland fans will let him grow his beard down to his toes.
-- Brandon Moss left the game in the eighth inning to be with his wife, Allison, as the couple is having a baby. Melvin wasn't sure when Moss would be rejoining the team.
-- Nate Freiman, who was with the Astros for most of the spring, said his goal entering 2013 was to play at Minute Maid Park. With Moss missing some time, he'll get to do that as a member of the Oakland A's now.