Josh Reddick sat out Friday and Saturday after pulling his right oblique muscle during drills, but now Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that the right fielder could miss 4-6 weeks and is questionable for Opening Day. Said Melvin, via Lee:
"We know for sure he's not doing anything for two weeks, and then it's a progression to get him ready again," said Melvin. "You have to start from zero again. I would think Opening Day would be a stretch, but he has been a quick healer."
This is a tough start to the spring for the Oakland A's. Like it or not, Reddick is one of the team's best players and was one of the more sure bets in a lineup containing several question marks. His defense alone is worth a couple of wins over the course of a season, and he seems like a good bet to be at least an average hitter, with the upside for more and the chance to be one of the biggest power threats in a lineup lacking a singular source of concentrated dingers.
And he's still all of those things. It's just that he's getting the year off on the wrong foot by immediately tweaking a notoriously fickle muscle, one that loves to linger for weeks or months or even entire seasons. Reddick will most likely miss all of spring, as well, which might make it tougher to get back in the swing of things upon his return. But the good news is that this happened at the beginning of spring, not at the very end, so he'll be sitting out exhibition games while he recovers rather than regular season contests. Most likely, he'll come back in early-to-mid-April and this will just be a blip on the radar. Until his next injury, obviously.
Effect of Reddick's injury on the roster and lineup
Reddick figures to be an everyday player for the A's, so if he starts the season on the DL then a spot opens up for someone else.
In a world with Reddick, let's assume that Craig Gentry and Sam Fuld will form some sort of platoon in center field while Coco Crisp plays every day in left. There are other players vying for roles and it will be more complicated than that, but that's probably the arrangement the vast majority of the time.
Without Reddick, perhaps we could see Fuld or Gentry slide to right and Coco reclaim center, with a more offensive-minded player like Mark Canha playing in left. Ike Davis could slide to the outfield, as we've discussed before and as Jane Lee reiterated on Saturday; that would open up first base for all kinds of options. Or, Ben Zobrist could play either left or right, with one of the Sogarrinodorf triumvirate playing second -- plus, a second member of that trio could make the team now.
The biggest benefactor of Reddick missing time would likely be Mark Canha. He already seemed like a lock to make the team due to his Rule 5 status, but losing Reddick would remove any doubt (Melissa Lockard agrees). Any of the above hypotheticals that opens up left field or first base could be doing so to give Canha those positions, and even if he doesn't get all of the at-bats he'll at least get the roster spot he needs to stay in the organization. The same goes for Sam Fuld, who is out of options and would have to be waived if he doesn't make the team; he'd surely be claimed by an other club. Fuld already seemed like a lock to me, though, so I don't think this affects him except to possibly give him more playing time.
If the A's want to use the chance to take another flyer in addition to Canha, they could do so on outfielders Alex Hassan (on the 40-man roster) or Jason Pridie (not on the 40-man). Or if they'd rather roll with an extra infielder, they could carry two utilitymen; there currently appears to be one spot for either Eric Sogard, Andy Parrino or Tyler Ladendorf, and instead two of them could make it.
There are lots of options. None of them are spectacularly exciting, but none of them are horribly unattractive. That will be the theme of the 2015 A's.
Stephen Vogt ahead of schedule
Vogt is coming back from offseason foot surgery, but he's about ready to play. The original assumption was that he'd DH to begin with, but Jane Lee says that he's ready to suit up and get behind the plate:
For weeks, the A's thought they would have to ease Vogt into games at designated hitter to limit his time on his surgically repaired right foot. But he got the green light Saturday, allowing him to catch in a game for the first time since July 7 of last year.
Apropos of nothing
This tweet caught my eye today.
If fans were excited seeing Brett Lawrie at 3B, should really see Matt Chapman in person. 65 glove/70+ arm and I know guys who’d say I’m low— Chris Kusiolek (@Oak_AllDay) March 7, 2015
Let's hope he can hit.