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Spleen Scout Report (Eyeball Will Rejoin Us "At A Later Date")

I wass sdrinking quite a bbit by the ssseventhinning yesterday.
I wass sdrinking quite a bbit by the ssseventhinning yesterday.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

So my acupuncturist explains to me that the pain in my elbow is the result of dampness and heat in my spleen and that's why she needs to put a needle on my right earlobe. I pay her $85.00 and as I walk out I notice that her diploma is from an online branch of the Bryman School and that her certificate looks suspiciously like it could fit in the bottom of a Cracker Jacks box. Then again, while my elbow isn't feeling any better today my spleen feels terrific.

The headline is also a send-up to the man we currently miss more than Doolittle, or Crisp, or Zobrist, and that is Ken Korach, whose recovery from knee issues is clearly going slower than hoped. Vince Cotroneo is doing a great job, as are his merry band of back-up vocalists, but it's just not the same without you, Ken. Continued best wishes from all of us at the Knee Company (Knee Co.).

And that's the way our article begins.

Josh Reddick

OK, spleen out, eyeball in. Josh Reddick isn't just off to a superlative start; his at bats truly are different from the ones we have watched for parts of two seasons -- and frankly even in 2012, when everything rolled right for Reddick but his approach was pretty flawed.

This version of Reddick is less anxious at the plate, more relaxed and focused on hitting the right pitch rather than on how to hit it. This is causing Reddick to let the ball travel farther, to walk more while striking out less, to hit to all fields with much more authority than he ever has before, and to have good at bats in high leverage situations rather than falling apart more as the intensity heightens.

Reddick's improvement is, as far as I can see, quite real and it is also an ideal template for Brett Lawrie to observe because Lawrie is currently where Reddick was a couple years ago. Lawrie currently goes up looking to swing whereas right now Reddick goes up looking for good pitches to hit. Big difference, as well as a reminder that medium aged dogs can learn new tricks.

Here's hoping that Reddick continues his new mindset and approach and that Lawrie gets there soon as well because both are quite talented and capable of far more than their career slash lines might suggest.

Blackley Outduels Darvish!

Do you remember the game that started the 2012 A's on the road from obscurity to magic? Oakland was about to get swept in Arlington in a 4-game series, having lost the first 3 and sending junkyard pickup Travis Blackley up against the imposing Texas ace, Yu Darvish. Darvish even pitched a great game, perhaps the last gem he would ever throw against the A's, but out of nowhere Blackley stepped up to out duel Darvish 1-0.

The A's really never looked back, Josh Hamilton never looked the ball into his glove, and somehow Oakland surged all the way past the .500 mark, past each AL West rival, and into the post-season. Perhaps an improbable win at Arlington can propel the A's out of misery and into better company.

On May 2nd, 2015, we know this: Either the Houston Astros are going to win the AL West, or the A's are really only 1.5 games behind in the standings.

Free Pat Venditte

He may never be a great high leverage option and the switch pitching is a great story, but not why I wish the A's would call up Pat Venditte for a look. He is, if nothing else, versatile, and he has gotten minor league hitters out pretty consistently throughout his career. The A's bullpen is clearly struggling and once again, Venditte is not.

At AAA so far this season, Venditte has an 0.64 ERA in 14 IP, 7 hits allowed, 6 BBs, 12 Ks. The walks are a little high but given how little the A's can count on Ryan Cook or Eric O'Flaherty it seems like there would be ample places to slot Venditte in to face a LH batter or to work an inning that might otherwise go to Cook.

Personally, I would much rather have Venditte available in the bullpen than Cook, who has options, and I am not convinced that O'Flaherty's issues, which include soreness in his left shoulder and control that has left him, can be fixed quickly. I'm not sure what's up with Abad and his decreased velocity, but a DL trip for him would also open up a spot for Venditte.

One way or another, Venditte is very, very likely one of the A's 7 best relief options right now. If the A's had a solid or deep bullpen, it would not make sense to "see what Venditte can do at the big league level" because you want to be risk averse when you have little reason to take risks. But given the current situation it's hard for me to see much downside to seeing if there's upside. At the very least, you're likely to catch a little lightning in a bottle the first time around the league as Venditte faces batters who are not at all familiar with him.

Like Chad Bradford before him, Venditte does not throw hard nor does he profile as a likely success story. And like Bradford, all he does is get hitters out. Give him a whirl and take advantage of his versatility, if the alternative is Cook. And it is.

Drew Pomeranz vs. Nick Martinez tonight at 5:05pm and one of them has a major league best 0.35 ERA. It's not Pomeranz, but it's May now so good things are apparently allowed to happen to the Oakland A's!