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News gets worse for Reddick: out 4-6 week with oblique

Josh Reddick will be shut down for two weeks to deal with a right oblique strain.

Josh Reddick will be shut down for two weeks to deal with a right oblique strain.

The news just gets worse for A’s right fielder Josh Reddick.

Two hours after manager Bob Melvin announced that Reddick was being shut down for two weeks to let a right oblique strain heal, Reddick told this newspaper that the prognosis for his return is 4-6 weeks.

“Actually, it was a worse feeling last night,’’ Reddick said. “After I got the MRI, they were telling me that it could be two months. So to hear this morning that it’s just 4-6 weeks is actually comforting, something of a relief.’’

Just not much of one. It seems unlikely in the extreme that he’ll be ready for the season opener against Texas on April 6, and at this point, just missing the first 10 or 12 games of the season would be close to the best Reddick and the A’s can hope for.

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Reddick hoping right oblique strain only a 3-4 day event

Josh Reddick will miss three or four days at a minimum after having felt some right oblique pain.

Josh Reddick will miss three or four days at a minimum after having felt some right oblique pain.

A’s right fielder Josh Reddick is hoping that the pain in his right oblique felt Friday morning during a defensive drill is minor and won’t keep him out of action more than three or four days.

But oblique injuries can be tricky. He had a left oblique stain back in 2009 and he wound up missing two months of what would become his rookie season with Boston. That time he hurt himself with a hard swing and couldn’t breathe, sneeze or cough without pain.

“I felt like somebody stabbed me with a knife,’’ he said recalling his last go-around with an oblique injury. “This isn’t like that. I felt it pop, but I can walk and breathe without pain.

“There is a little pain when I sneeze or rotate, but I’m hoping three or four days should do it.’’

Reddick said he was taking part in the A’s stretching and Yoga session at Hohokam Stadium early Friday and “I couldn’t believe how good the back and the oblique felt.’’ He went so far to remark about how upset he’d be if he were to have another oblique injury this season, and it wasn’t two hours later that he felt it.

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Freiman won’t blame weight room work for his back injury

Nate Freiman will miss a couple of weeks with a back strain, setting back his chances of making the A's roster out of spring training.

Nate Freiman will miss a couple of weeks with a back strain, setting back his chances of making the A’s roster out of spring training.

First baseman Nate Freiman said that he injured his back lifting weights this off-season, and even while the resultant muscle strain is causing him to miss a couple of weeks of Cactus League work, he defends against the suggestion that too much work in the weight room is bad for a baseball player.

“Respectfully, I have to disagree with that. I think work in the weight room is very important,’’ Freiman said. “The benefits enormously outweigh the risks.

“I think for every injury you see coming out of the weight room, there are many more injuries on the field that don’t happen because players who work with weights are in such good shape.’’

Freiman does admit this is a major setback to his hopes of making the A’s 25-man roster coming out of spring training. He was going to be hard-pressed to win a job with the A’s having a Rule 5 first baseman, Mark Canha, in camp who has to make the roster or be offered back to the Marlins.

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Vogt off and running, and now it’s time for some DH at-bats

Catcher Stephen Vogt is due to run the bases hard in the next day or so, then could get into spring games as the DH.

Catcher Stephen Vogt is due to run the bases hard in the next day or so, then could get into spring games as the DH.

A’s catcher Stephen Vogt, coming back from off-season surgery on his right foot, is still playing with a steel plate lining his right shoe, and it will be like that until the middle of the season.

He ran the bases hard Friday, the last test before he gets into Cactus League games as a DH.

“I felt great,’’ he said. “There was no pain running, no pain hitting the bases or rounding them.’’

And the steel plate?

“That’s pain of a different sort,’’ he said. “That doesn’t count. I can deal with it. But the important thing is my foot feels better.’’

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Zito’s next game to be in relief, but another start possible

Barry Zito's next Cactus League appearance will be in relief of Sonny Gray next Tuesday.

Barry Zito’s next Cactus League appearance will be in relief of Sonny Gray next Tuesday.

Barry Zito reported to the A’s camp Friday morning with no extra residual soreness after making his first start in 18 months. However, he won’t be making another start for Oakland anytime soon.

Instead the plan is to have Zito piggyback on the start of Sonny Gray the next time out. Gray, the A’s projected opening day starter, April 6, will likely throw three innings next Tuesday against the Diamondbacks in Mesa, then have Zito follow him.

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Zito, Crisp take center stage today for A’s vs. Cubs

Barry Zito's gets his first Cactus League start Thursday against the Cubs.

Barry Zito’s gets his first Cactus League start Thursday against the Cubs.

It’s a quiet morning in Mesa with only a little bit of news coming out of A’s camp

That figures to change this afternoon as former Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito makes his fist Cactus League start of the spring in what he hopes will be a first step toward winning a job in the A’s rotation.

And Coco Crisp will start in left field, marking his move there from center field, his home for most of his big league career.

Zito has a long road to go to make the A’s rotation. The A’s have three spots open behind Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir, but the club is leaning toward giving Jesse Chavez and Drew Pomeranz the first shots at two of those jobs, and Oakland went out and got handful of not-quite-ready-for-primetime pitchers for the fifth spot, including Jesse Hahn, Kendall Graveman and Chris Bassitt.

It’s a virtual certainty that one of those last three makes the rotation, and two of them making it isn’t out of the question.

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Knee injury will keep Korach off A’s early spring broadcasts

Ken Korach, the longtime voice of the A’s radio broadcasts, will not be in Arizona for at least the first few weekend radio games on 95.7 The Game due to a knee injury.

It’s problematic when Korach will be able to make it to Arizona as he recovers from what he terms a “significant’’ knee injury on his left knee, which he had replaced in 2012.

Vince Cotroneo and Ray Fosse will handle the broadcasts in Korach’s stead.

Here’s the text of the letter Korach sent out through the A’s Wednesday morning:

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Crisp moving to left field in an effort to stay healthy

Coco Crisp may have a less confrontational relationship with the outfield wall this season as he moves to left field. .

Coco Crisp may have a less confrontational relationship with the outfield wall this season as he moves to left field. .

The A’s are changing the basic structure of their outfield defense, manager Bob Melvin announcing Wednesday morning that Coco Crisp is moving to left field.

Crisp, the club’s center fielder for most of the last five seasons, will get his first Cactus League start of the spring Thursday and will get it in left field, Melvin said. It’s not an entirely unknown position for Crisp, who has played 228 career games in left field while having played 1,091 in center.

When the A’s signed Yoenis Cespedes, also a center fielder, out of Cuba in March of 2012, Crisp was moved to left field in spring training and started the season there, but the A’s didn’t click as an outfield until Cespedes moved to left and Crisp moved to right after coming off the disabled list in early May.

Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry, who were down to platoon in left field, will now platoon in center. Josh Reddick is the lone player not moving. He’ll stay in right field.

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Gentry out of the gate quickly as he puts 2014 behind him

Craig Gentry (3) is off to a far better start this spring than last for A's.

Craig Gentry (3) is off to a far better start this spring than last for A’s.

Craig Gentry is already way ahead of the game, even if the A’s are just one game into spring training.

The Oakland outfielder singled in each of his first two at-bats, stole a base and scored a couple of runs as the A’s beat the Giants 9-4 to open Cactus League play Tuesday.

That’s one more game than Gentry played for the A’s last spring. He came over in a trade from the Rangers, but injured his back before reporting to camp. He went on the disabled list before the spring was out, and missed the entire first homestand of the regular season.

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Chavez takes same approach in effort to win starter’s job

Jesse Chavez gets Wednesday's start, hoping to pitch his way back into the A's rotation.

Jesse Chavez gets Wednesday’s start, hoping to pitch his way back into the A’s rotation.

Jesse Chavez’s spring setup hasn’t changed, even if everything else has.

In the space of a year, the right-handed pitcher went from the A’s bullpen to the starting rotation, then back to the bullpen. He became a starter due to injuries to Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin, lost his job after 21 starts when the A’s traded for Jon Lester, and now has a chance to start again.

Chavez, who starts Game 2 of the Cactus League season against the Giants Wednesday in Scottsdale, could have blamed the Lester trade for losing his job. He didn’t. He blamed himself.

“It wasn’t a case of the job being taken away,’’ he said. “It was a case of I didn’t hold it. I shouldn’t have put the team in a position to doubt me.’’

The A’s had no early doubt. In Chavez’s first 18 starts, Oakland went 13-5 and he was 7-5 with a 3.06 ERA with hitters averaging just .248 against him. Then came a three-game July stretch against the Mariners once and the Astros twice in which he went 1-2 with a 5.94 ERA while his opponents’ average leaped to .279. He also allowed four homers, three of those against the Astros in Houston on July 28. Three days later came the trade for Lester.

“I think it came down to those three starts, a couple of bad innings,’’ Chavez said. “The three homers against the Astros was the really bad one.’’

Mare than that, there was a belief that Chavez, who’d most been a reliever for the previous decade after signing with the Rangers, was wearing down. Twelve of his first 18 starts saw him go at least six innings. Only one of his last four met that standard.

“That was the problem,’’ he said. “I was going from getting us into the seventh inning to struggling to get into the sixth.’’

So Wednesday’s start is a new beginning, although as A’s manager Bob Melvin said, “whether he had a job locked up or he was trying to win one, Chavvy would have the same all-out approach.’’

“The chance to be a starter is there,’’ Chavez said. “For me, I just approach it like last year when I was trying to just win a spot on the staff. I’m always going to pitch like I’m pitching to win a job.’’