PHOENIX – With his long hair and scraggly beard more prominent than ever, A’s outfielder Josh Reddick walked into the Oakland clubhouse Friday morning for the first time and was greeted with the quip “Hillbilly Jesus.’’
There’s no doubt he fits the moniker.
The hair and beard are part of Reddick’s persona, and Reddick is part of what gives the A’s their basic personality.
And there is reason to wonder if the personality and the chemistry that led Oakland to the 2012 American League West title will be intact in 2013. Gone are Brandon McCarthy, the standup guy from the starting rotation, and Jonny Gomes, the DH and part-time outfielder from last year’s team who helped fashion the esprit de corps.
That can-do spirit won’t change, Reddick says, not it he has any say in the matter.
“I don’t see the chemistry here changing a whole lot,’’ Reddick said after putting the green and gold for the first time. “There are valuable guys who are gone, but we’ve got a whole lot of guys who were here, who knew what it was like and who can keep it going.’’
One of those is Reddick himself.
“If what it takes to have that feeling again this year is for me to be more of a team leader, then that’s what I’ll do,’’ Reddick said. “We’re all stoked to start here again. There are some big holes to fill, but it can be done.’’