<
>

Josh Reddick to miss Opening Day

MESA, Ariz. -- Just a few short hours after manager Bob Melvin said that the Athletics would be shutting down right fielder Josh Reddick for two weeks with a strained oblique, it now looks like Reddick will be out four to six weeks, preventing him from being in the team's Opening Day lineup.

"After I got the MRI, they were telling me that it could be two months," Reddick said during in-game comments to the Bay Area News Group. "So to hear this morning that it's just four to six weeks is actually comforting, something of a relief."

Earlier in the day, Melvin had said, "[Reddick is] going to be a little bit longer than we anticipated. He's not going to do anything for two weeks. So the timetable after that just depends. Then obviously it's a progression to get him ready again, you have to start from zero again. I would think maybe Opening Day would be a stretch, but he's been a quick healer."

The additional misfortune is that Reddick already had made a good impression in camp, ha sign that he would be able to regain the slugging form that helped him crank 32 home runs in 2012 for the A's.

"He really looked good at the plate. He looked that good in camp early on," Melvin said. "It's disappointing, but it's better to happen now than later on."

This is the latest setback for Reddick, who had to go on to the disabled list twice in each of the last two seasons. In 2013 he was on the DL twice for a sprained right wrist, missing 37 games in all. In 2014 he missed a total of 38 games with injuries to his right knee, landing on the DL the first time on June 1 after hyperextending it, then returning to the DL on June 22 after straining it after just four games back. That injury kept him on the DL until July 22.

This further complicates an outfield picture already jumbled by last week's decision to move Coco Crisp to left field from center. But Reddick's absence creates an opportunity for several other players to get playing time. In-house options include speedster Billy Burns, utilitymen Tyler Ladendorf and Alden Carrithers, journeyman Jason Pridie and former Red Sox prospect Alex Hassan. Even first basemen like Ike Davis and top prospect Matt Olson will be getting consideration for outfield starts and at-bats.

It also remains to be seen if super-utilityman Ben Zobrist will be added to the outfield rotation during spring action as he gets in-game experience playing second base alongside new shortstop Marcus Semien.