Josh Reddick fractured his left thumb while stealing second base in the bottom of the seventh inning of Thursday's contest against the New York Yankees, tweets A's beat writers (including MLB.com's Jane Lee). He will be out indefinitely, Bob Melvin said, and will see a hand specialist on Friday to determine how much time he will miss, but Reddick was told an estimate. The San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau:
Reddick said the early timetable is he'll miss 4-6 weeks.— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) May 20, 2016
Reddick had reached on a base hit off Dellin Betances, and stole second with Danny Valencia batting. Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro had to jump for a high throw from Yankees catcher Brian McCann, and Castro accidentally landed on Reddick. Trainers attended to Reddick and he remained in the game to run, but Tyler Ladendorf replaced him in right field in the top of the eighth inning.
Reddick was off to a fantastic start, hitting .322/.394/.466 with five home runs in 165 plate appearances, including one tonight off Ivan Nova, Oakland's only run of the game. His 137 wRC+ led the A's qualified hitters.
Options in the majors and in the minors
The A's will have a very big hole to fill in their lineup, beginning with who is going to play in right field. Among the reserves available with the team now are Matt McBride and Tyler Ladendorf. The A's did give Billy Burns a start in right field earlier, but that is his only professional start at the position. Max Muncy could see time in left field, where he's played quite a bit in Nashvile.
At Triple-A Nashville, left-handed batting Matt Olson has taken most starts in right field, though Bob Melvin really felt Olson was more of a first baseman during spring training. Right-handed batting Jake Smolinski has played a few games in right field this year and over his career while taking the bulk of start in center field this year. Left-handed batting Andrew Lambo has played right field in his career, but has mainly been splitting time between left field and DH this season.
The problem with any of those three is that they really have not been hitting the ball that well so far this year. Their batting lines:
- Matt Olson: .186/.305/.331, 3 HR, 41 SO, 21 BB
- Andrew Lambo: .224/.287/.320, 1 HR, 30 SO, 10 BB
- Jake Smolinski: .248/.310/.407, 3 HR, 23 SO, 11 BB
If there is some hope to be had, it's that Nashville's hitting has improved as the season's gone on, especially Smolinski's. The candidates' May splits:
- Olson: .214/.338/.304, 0 HR, 23 SO, 11 BB
- Lambo: .233/.292/.283, 0 HR, 15 SO, 4 BB
- Smolinski: .262/.348/.426, 2 HR, 7 SO, 6 BB
The A's will need a minor league miracle for any of these three to come close to coming up with what Reddick has done for the A's so far this year, a year where the A's were already going to be hanging by a thread to compete.