HOUSTON -– With Ben Zobrist nursing a bruised right heel, Josh Reddick is getting a cameo in the No. 3 spot of the A’s batting order Wednesday.
Zobrist banged his ankle up against the outfield wall a few days ago. Though manager Bob Melvin said the two-time All-Star could probably play through it, he took the opportunity to give Zobrist two days of rest with Thursday’s day off on the schedule.
“We thought we’d try to take care of it right now,” Melvin said before the series finale against the Astros. “It doesn’t mean he’s not available during the game. But he is a guy that we’re gonna be careful with.”
Reddick is 4-for-13 with a double and two RBI in three games since coming off the disabled list for an oblique injury. Reddick spent of most of his 32-homer season of 2012 hitting third but has hit there sparingly over the past two injury-marred seasons.
“He’s swinging the bat pretty well right now,” Melvin said. “He’s hit there before, and I want to try to keep everybody else where they were and try to keep things in sync a little bit.”
Reddick, who hit eighth in his first three games, said his approach doesn’t change in the third spot.
“I just hit earlier in the lineup, more opportunities for more at-bats and to drive in runs,” he said. “I don’t change the approach, just stick with what I’ve been doing the last three days.”
Players gathered around a clubhouse TV before the game to watch a taped interview with Mark Canha for the MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk” show. The viewing audience included Canha, who sat in a chair and watched quietly while receiving some light razzing from teammates. Canha has grabbed attention for his hot hitting to start the season. But of course, show hosts Chris Rose and Kevin Millar also wanted to ask about Canha’s dead-on reciting of a string of baseball clichés from the movie “Bull Durham” during a recent interview.
In the spirit of that, Canha faced off against Millar in a baseball movie trivia contest and did quite well, identifying famous lines from “The Sandlot,” “The Natural” and other classics.
Melvin talked to injured closer Sean Doolittle on the phone Tuesday, and the lefty reported feeling very good after his best throwing session yet. Doolittle threw from 105 feet and “really let it go” for the first time since tearing his rotator cuff, according to Melvin. There’s still no word on when Doolittle will try throwing from the mound. Melvin has mentioned late May as a very tentative time range for Doolittle to return.