By John Hickey
Saturday, May 4th, 2013 at 2:21 pm in 2013 regular season.
A’s catcher John Jaso thought he’d done on Saturday what Adam Rosales did on Friday, hitting a homer as the first man to bat for the A’s against the Yankees.
The ball was long enough, but it was pulled back into the Yankee stadium playing grounds by Ichiro Suzuki, the Yankee right fielder with home Jaso was a teammate in Seattle last season.
When Ichiro came up to the plate in the second inning for the first time, Jaso said he had some choice words for him.
“I said `I thought you were my friend,’ ’’ Jaso said, laughing.
He was still smiling when he recounted Ichiro’s comeback.
“Hit it to left field,’’ the 10-time Gold Glove winner said Ichiro told him.
It was easy to joke about after the game, a 4-2 Yankee win over Oakland, but the catch by Ichiro was one of the decisive plays in a game when there really wasn’t much offense to speak of on either side.
If Jaso’s ball isn’t derailed by Ichiro, the A’s have a 1-0 lead, and coupled with Friday’s 2-0 victory might have enough momentum to get by.
For his part, Ichiro was surprised to learn from the media that the ball would have cleared the fence had he not caught it.
“I wasn’t sure that it would be a home run,’’ Ichiro said. “I just focused on the ball. I had to make that catch.’’
Actually, Ichiro said that wasn’t his toughest defensive assignment of the day. He said Eric Sogard’s sinking liner leading off the third inning was much more problematic. And while the ball wouldn’t have been a home run if Ichiro’s sliding catch on his knees hadn’t done the trick, if the ball would have gotten by the right fielder, Sogard could have opened the inning with a triple in what was at that point still a scoreless game.
Jaso said he’d seen Ichiro make those kinds of catches before.
Just not against him.
–Josh Reddick is hardly out of the slump that has defined the first six weeks of his 2013 season.
At the same time, he’s not giving into it, either.
Point 1: When he drew a walk in the fifth inning, it was his fifth walk in his last 10 plate appearances. He’s not going up and mindlessly hacking at anything within three feet of the plate.
Point 2: when he hit a potential double play grounder that would have ended the game, Reddick flew down the first base line and beat the throw. Not only did he keep the A’s alive, the grounder drove in a run. He gave Adam Rosales to come to the plate as the potential tying run.
“There are some positives to look at there,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “He hasn’t lost his fight. He’s scratching for everything he can.’’