Josh Reddick dropped to sixth in A’s batting order again; Coco Crisp remains out

Josh Reddick is once again struggling at the plate, so A’s manager Bob Melvin is trying to see if a familiar formula can work again. He dropped Reddick to sixth in today’s lineup against the Yankees, with Yoenis Cespedes hitting third and Brandon Moss batting cleanup. Melvin had been hesitant to drop Reddick again because he didn’t see a suitable replacement in the third spot. But Reddick is 0 for his past 13 and struck out four times last night. After a day like that, a guy probably needs a mental break.

“He’s been so good for us all year offensively and defensively,” Melvin said. “Now you get to the point where you’re semi-close to the season’s end, and I think he’s just trying to do a little too much. It certainly isn’t for a lack of confidence. He’s trying too hard and sometimes you gotta step back and try a little easier.”

The lineups:

A’s — Drew SS, Smith LF, Cespedes CF, Moss 1B, Carter DH, Reddick RF, Donaldson 3B, Kottaras C, Pennington 2B; Blackley LHP.

NY — Jeter SS, Ichiro CF, A-Rod DH,Cano 2B, Swisher RF, McGehee 1B, Nix 3B, Jones LF, Stewart C; Nova RHP.

It’s also worth noting that Reddick sits at 29 homers, and Melvin acknowledged that being close to a 30-homer season can affect a player to a degree.

“Nine’s a big number in this game, whether it’s 299, whether it’s 29, whether it’s nine wins or 19 wins,” Melvin said. “There’s a lot to those big round numbers. I think you can’t help but know where you are as far as that goes. Sometimes that’s in there a little bit. (But) certainly it’s not his focal point. He just wants to help his team win.”

Combine Reddick’s slump with leadoff man Coco Crisp being out of the lineup for the fifth time in six games because of his pink eye infection, and that’s two very key players that the A’s aren’t getting production from. When will Crisp be back? Well, he’s not even taking batting practice right now. So it stands to reason we may not see him until the A’s get to Texas on Monday.

“I’m always holding out hope,” Melvin said. “Literally he’s day to day. If not tomorrow, then we’re hoping for the first day in Texas.”

A play that got overlooked last night was Yoenis Cespedes’ strong throw from left field, while he was off-balance and on the run, that caught Ichiro Suzuki in a rundown between first and second on his fifth-inning single. Cespedes whipped the ball like a shortstop from the hole — or a quarterback on a roll-out — and it was clear that he caught Suzuki by surprise. Suzuki rounded first and thought he had a double, then stopped dead in his tracks halfway to second.

Plays like that make me shake my head at Cespedes’ raw ability.

“If you’ve seen him take balls at short, you know he can throw it off-balance,” Melvin said. “He’s just a good athlete with great throwing skills, so that didn’t surprise me at all.”

Melvin compared Cespedes’ arm to that of Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, a former infielder who is tied for third in the majors with 13 outfield assists …

Joe Stiglich