Programming note: Phillies-A’s coverage starts tonight at 6 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
OAKLAND – The A’s are a team in need of a spark from any source possible.
Might Stephen Vogt provide one?
He’s back in Oakland’s lineup at first base Friday against the Philadelphia Phillies, his first start since he sprained his left ankle Sept. 3 against Seattle.
“We’ve missed him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said, “not only in the versatility he’s brought us, but offensively he’s been a spark plug for us. He’s a tough out, a grinder. So it’s nice to get him back in the lineup.”
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Vogt is hitting .303 overall with nine home runs and 32 RBI, although he’s followed the trend of his teammates by cooling off considerably in the second half. Vogt was batting just .213 over his past 31 games before he got hurt, compared to .361 over his first 44 games after being called up from Triple-A Sacramento on June 1.
Though Vogt rejoined the lineup, the A’s were still without right fielder Josh Reddick in Friday’s lineup. Reddick got an MRI on his left ankle after a hard spill while crossing the first base bag Wedneday night, but it’s actually pain in the right side of his neck that’s keeping him out.
Reddick said the pain is centered near his right trapezius, down by his shoulder. He took swings in the batting cage Friday afternoon but said his neck “grabbed,” and he knew he wasn’t capable of starting. He is available to pinch hit, both he and Melvin confirmed, but he wasn’t capable of a full batting practice session.
He also felt “sharp pain” while making throws Wednesday night after his fall, so figure that he won’t be an option tonight as a defensive replacement.
Outfielder Craig Gentry still isn’t doing any baseball activity as he recovers from a concussion, and Melvin said he’s still experiencing headaches at times. With just 10 games left, it’s obviously up in the air whether Gentry will return at all. Catcher/DH John Jaso remains hopeful of returning in some capacity from a concussion of his own, but his status is also very iffy.
With the Phillies in town, here’s a factoid from the Little-Known-Fact Department: It was 60 years ago to the day Friday that the Philadelphia A’s played their final game in Philadelphia. Following the 1954 season, they moved to Kansas City.