OAKLAND –- Originally pegged as a platoon player who would hit against lefties, Mark Canha is carving out more playing time for himself early on.
The right-handed hitting Canha earned his second consecutive start against a right-handed starter Friday night. He’s playing left field and batting second against Mariners starter Taijuan Walker in the opener of a three-game series at the Coliseum.
Canha has started the past two games and gone 4-for-9 with two doubles and four RBI. With Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp both on the disabled list, and with outfielder Craig Gentry off to an 0-for-11 start, Canha is earning time at the corner outfield spots. The plan entering the season was to have him platoon at first with Ike Davis.
But manager Bob Melvin said there’s a benefit for a young player to get playing time against both lefties and righties.
[RELATED: A's lineup: Canha batting second vs. Mariners' Walker]
“A lot of times younger players get to the big leagues and can’t understand why they’re facing one or the other, because they never have before in the minor leagues,” Melvin said. “I don’t think it really matters to him. I haven’t asked him yet. But I know he’s swinging the bat well and feels pretty good.”
It marks the fifth different player Melvin has used in the No. 2 spot in five games. The fact that Seattle has two quality lefty relievers in Charlie Furbush and Tyler Olson prompted him to go with a left-right combo atop the lineup. The lefty-hititng Sam Fuld is leading off ahead of Canha.
“When we get Coco and Reddick back, it might be a little more stable” at the No. 2 spot, Melvin said. “(Canha) is swinging the bat well, so we’ll get him up there a little bit earlier. At some point in time we’ll figure out who’s going to hit in that spot.”
It appears Reddick’s likely return from the DL will come Sunday rather than Saturday. Reddick is playing a second game with Single-A Stockton on Friday after going 1-for-3 with a walk and playing right field Thursday.
“At some point in time this series,” Melvin responded when asked about Reddick’s potential return.
Reddick is eligible to come off the DL on Saturday. But with the Mariners throwing lefty J.A. Happ on Saturday, it serves the A’s well to hold off on activating him, perhaps give Cody Ross and Tyler Ladendorf each another start Saturday and do some more evaluating before deciding who to send down to clear a roster spot (and Ross and Ladendorf aren’t necessarily the only options to remove from the roster).