A’s manager Bob Melvin said he took the blame for the lineup change before a game last month that led right fielder Josh Reddick to complain in a Thursday pregame radio interview about front office meddling in how the Oakland lineup is put together.
Asked by broadcaster Ray Fosse about what goes in to getting his left-handed bat into the lineup against a left-handed starter, Reddick said:
“I have no idea. It doesn’t come from anywhere in this clubhouse. Everybody knows what situations our general manager puts up there. I couldn’t tell you what the difference is between me starting against one guy and not starting against another guy. There’s probably so many numbers they could dig into their computers and try to find one just to keep me out of the lineup.’’
Reddick was in the original starting lineup Tuesday against Rockies’ lefty Jorge De La Rosa, but then was told he was not playing, and wasn’t happy about it. That came out in the interview, and the right fielder apologized to Melvin Friday.
Talking Friday about Reddick’s description of the front office having “trumped’’ the lineup Tuesday, Melvin denied, that, then said “It was miscommunication, and it was my fault.’’
“We have a lot of numbers, and there is a metric system that I look at that is basically an optimal lineup vs. the pitcher we’re facing that particular night, and I hadn’t looked at it before,’’ Melvin said. “It’s a useful tool for me. So I changed my mind, and I got back to him and didn’t really explain to him why, and therefore there was a little bit of miscommunication.’’
Melvin said the call to go with Sam Fuld, also a left-hander, over Reddick was his, and not that of General Manager Billy Beane. However, the GM has been known to ask Melvin, and A’s managers before him, to structure lineups in certain ways.
Talking about what came out in the radio interview, Reddick said he and Melvin have talked things out and said he would never want to do anything to throw Melvin under the bus considering they have a good relationship.
However, A’s players current and past are mindful of the front office impact on the lineup.
“That did not come out the way I wanted it to come out,’’ Reddick said. “I talked to Bob, just the two of us. Bob is such a good guy and a good manager. I don’t want to come down on him.’’
Although he’s hitting .152 with one homer against lefties this year, Reddick says he does not want to rest against even the best left-handers, “I don’t care if it’s Dallas Keuchel or Clayton Kershaw.’’ And Melvin said he wants players who feel that way.
Reddick said he hasn’t heard from anyone in the front office and doesn’t know if he will.