On Tuesday the Oakland Athletics activated Josh Reddick from the disabled list, but it remains to be seen what role he will return to.
Manager Bob Melvin told Jane Lee of MLB.com that Reddick, who hit 35 home runs in 2012, is “not an option for me swinging the bat.” Melvin was talking about Tuesday in particular, but the comment suggests that the outfielder will have a tough time working his way back into the lineup.
The right-fielder landed on the DL back on August 26 with a sprained right wrist for a second time this season. Since then, Brandon Moss has taken over right field. The 29-year-old Moss, who spent the majority of the season playing first base, has launched nine home runs since the beginning of August.
Although he’s sure to get days off against tough left-handers, it’s not as though those match ups will favor Reddick either. Daric Barton also has played surprisingly well since his unexpected call-up, hitting .389 so far in the month of September. While Reddick is a Gold Glover, Barton has the ability to make a more consistent defensive impact simply because of the position he plays. His skills at first base actually make the rest of the team’s infielders better as he scoops up bad throws and catches pretty much anything in his general vicinity.
Reddick was hitting .213 with 10 home runs and 46 RBI when the team placed him on the disabled list in the final week of August. In his last 10 games, Reddick hit .194 with zero extra-base hits. In fact, during the entire month of August, the only extra-base hits he collected were the the five home runs he tallied in a two-game stretch in Toronto.
Reddick took bating practice on Tuesday at Target Field before the game between the Athletics and the Minnesota Twins. However, as reported by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the outfielder was unable to go on a rehab assignment due to the timing of his injury.
Reddick hasn’t played in more than two weeks; no minor league affiliates to send him to for rehab.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 11, 2013
John Hickey of the Oakland Tribune tweeted before game two of the series with the Twins what the plan could be for the outfielder:
#Athletics Josh Reddick (wrist) may need a couple of at-bats off the bench before he gets a start.
— John Hickey (@JHickey3) September 11, 2013
Even if Reddick is limited to a couple of innings of defense a few nights a week, the 26-year-old, who has struggled through a huge letdown of a season, can still make a crucial impact.
All it will take is for Reddick to make one of his acrobatic home run-saving catches or to unleash his sixth outfield assist of the year on an ill-advised base runner. Reddick’s glove or arm could save Oakland a run over the final 18 games of the season. In a division that last season came down to the final game, that one run could be huge.