Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin disclosed to beat reporters this morning that while right fielder Josh Reddick will play in a minor league game on Sunday, he is unlikely to be ready for opening day. The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser breaks down how Melvin will shuffle the roster, including the chance that either utility man Tyler Ladendorf or outfielder Billy Burns will take his place for now:
Melvin says Zobrist would open season in RF and Sogard would be at 2B.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 27, 2015
Ladendorf's success has come against left-handed pitching, but the A's will face Texas Rangers right-hander Yovani Gallardo in the season opener on April 6.
Reddick playing in a minor league game indicates that the A's intend to place Reddick on the 15-day disabled list and backdate his stay. A team can backdate a player's placement on the disabled list during spring training up to nine days prior to the start of the regular season. With the Cubs and Cardinals playing on April 5, Reddick could be eligible to return as soon as April 11, the sixth game of Oakland's schedule.
Tyler Clippard officially named closer
In completely unsurprising news, manager Bob Melvin named Tyler Clippard the closer for Oakland until Sean Doolittle returns from his mild left rotator cuff tear. Clippard has closed previously, notching 32 saves in 37 opportunities for the Washington Nationals in 2012, and frequently pitching in high leverage situations as their setup man since 2010.
Doolittle is playing catch today for the first time, but Susan Slusser reported Thursday evening that while there is no official timetable for his return, she does not expect a return until May.