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A’s: Reddick’s arm, glove will continue to keep him in lineup

Josh Reddick's defensive contributions continue to mount.

Josh Reddick’s defensive contributions continue to mount.

Periodically A’s watchers will wonder out loud why Josh Reddick is in the Oakland lineup when he’s healthy, almost without exception.

It usually happens when Reddick is the middle of a cold offensive spell. That’s not the case right now, because he’s played just two games in the last three weeks after coming off the disabled list. There hasn’t been enough time to be hot or cold.

Wednesday night was a case in point of why he plays so much. Reddick’s arm, always a weapon, saved at least one run and kept Oakland starter Brad Mills in control of the game. More than that, Reddick made a couple of stellar catches.

He opened the third inning making manager Bob Melvin’s heart race a little by going into the stands in foul territory to make a highlight-reel scoop behind a fan. Melvin saw Reddick’s 2013 season impacted by a play against the wall in Houston, and he just got the right fielder off the disabled list Tuesday. He’d like to keep him around for a while.

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A’s: Cespedes fills in, nails Crisp with pie in face

The As pride themselves on their versatility and depth. 

Yoenis Cespedes is all smiles after delivery celebratory pie to Coco Crisp Saturday

Yoenis Cespedes is all smiles after delivering celebratory pie to Coco Crisp Saturday

It has seldom been tested more than after Coco Crisp’s game-winning single to beat the Red Sox 2-1 in 10 innings Saturday.

The Oakland tradition after a walkoff it is a ceremonial whipped cream pie in the face during the post-game television interview. It’s been going on for a few years now, with right fielder Josh Reddick doing the honors for the most part.

If Reddick is unavailable, or if he’s the man who’s delivered the game-winner, then Crisp takes over. On Saturday, Reddick was off on an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Sacramento. And Crisp delivered the hit.

So there was a void.

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Moss’s extra-base bonanza shows no sign of slacking

Brandon Moss has become an extra-base machine.

Brandon Moss has become an extra-base machine.

 

Brandon Moss is doing nothing that Josh Donaldson hasn’t seen before.

Moss hit two home runs Tuesday and has tied Donaldson for the A’s team lead in both major power categories with 15 homers and 48 RBIs.

Donaldson recalled seeing Moss for the first time in the spring of 2012, a non-roster outfielder who’d been signed to a minor league contract the previous November.

“I watched him swing in batting practice, and he was hitting balls farther than anybody,’’ Donaldson said. “I was thinking to myself, this guy can really hit.’’

Donaldson saw more of that power during short stops early that season with Triple-A Sacramento, but it was Moss’ recall from the River Cats that sticks with Donaldson.

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All-Star voting underscores phasing-out of A’s platoon

Josh Donaldson and Jed Lowrie (right) are two of the four A's who rank in the AL All-Star balloting announced Tuesday.

Josh Donaldson and Jed Lowrie (right) are two of the four A’s who rank in the AL All-Star balloting announced Tuesday.

You have to dig deep to get to the last A’s position player to make an American League All-Star team.

Try catcher Ramon Hernandez, back in 2003.

If the first release of AL All-Star votes are any indication, that streak may be about to end. Third baseman Josh Donaldson had a lead of over 50,000 votes on the Rays’ Evan Longoria, Derek Norris was third at catcher behind Matt Wieters and Brian McCann while Brandon Moss (DH) and Jed Lowrie (shortstop) both ranked fifth at their positions.

“It’s not a new story,’’ Moss said of the lack of representation before this year. “We know J.D. should have been there last year. Red (Josh Reddick) should have been there in 2012.’’

Donaldson said the voting isn’t just about him but about the overall quality of the names on the roster that are producing.

“I feel like we have a bunch of guys in this clubhouse who are very good players and who are eventually going to garner national attention,’’ he said. “There’s a reason we’ve won the number games we have the last few years (94 in 2012, 96 last year and 31 in 51 games this year). It’s because we have really good players in the clubhouse.’’

The A’s have 221 regular-season wins since the start of the 2012 season. The second-best team in the AL over that stretch has 210, Texas.

Donaldson took it a little bit personally last week when college basketball voice Dick Vitale described the roster as composed of “no names.’’

“I don’t think that we are no-names,’’ he said. “We have guys in this clubhouse who go out there on a daily basis and prove to people across the country that they’re pretty good baseball players.’’

This could be, maybe even should be a breakthrough year for the A’s offense vis-à-vis the All-Star Game. Oakland came into Thursday having scored 258 runs the most in the American League.

Since the All-Star break last year, Donaldson has scored more runs (81) than any other player in the league. Lowrie has hit the most doubles (36). Moss is tied with the Blue Jays’ Edwin Encarnacion for the most homers (28) and has the outright lead with the most RBIs (85).

The odd part is that Norris, and to a lesser extent, Moss, has garnered the recognition without playing every day. Norris (.316, five homers, 24 RBIs) has only started 30 of the 51 games and wasn’t in the lineup Tuesday. Moss had started 44 times in left, right, at first base and as the DH.

Manager Bob Melvin, who hadn’t been willing to say it explicitly before Tuesday, said neither should be considered a part-time player.

“They started out as platoon guys,’’ Melvin said. “Moss has played all but one game this year (including coming off the bench). So I wouldn’t consider him a platoon player. And really Derek has thrust himself into this role based on production. Today’s a day off for him. He’s had a pretty rough schedule catching.

“You get that moniker and it’s difficult to get past that at times. But certainly if you look at the voting, they are getting looked at the way that they should.’’

The manager suggested that the A’s are being seen more now as a team comprised of good players rather than as “the little engine that could.’’

“Nationally we are getting recognition as a team,’’ he said. “So I think as a whole, people are starting to look at us other than as `that team’ but are starting to notice the individual players.’’

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Reddick hasn’t lost the knack for great defensive plays

Josh Reddick (16) saved the day for a few hours for the A's with a bases-loaded catch at the wall.

Josh Reddick (16) saved the day for a few hours for the A’s with a bases-loaded catch at the wall.

Josh Reddick began the Cactus League almost three months ago by steal a pair of home runs from the Giants’ Mike Morse.

And in the 10 weeks since, it’s good to know he hasn’t forgotten how to do it.

The A’s right fielder made one of the best catches of his career in the third inning Thursday, racing from medium-shallow right field to deep right-center to make a leaping catch against the wall with the bases loaded.

“When he starts to run that hard, you know something cool is about to happen,’’ A’s starter Sonny Gray said.

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Reddick’s switch to `Careless Whisper’ proves a winner

Josh Reddick is as quick as anyone in the A’s clubhouse to change his walkup music.

He did it last night. And Careless Whisper by George Michael might be around for a while.

Reddick tripled home a run, walked and scored a run and dropped down a bunt single and scored in the A’s 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox Monday.

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Drew Pomeranz tentatively slated to start Game 2

pomeranzDrew Pomeranz is slated to start Game 2 of the A’s double header on Wednesday, provided that he’s not needed in relief in the first game.  If Pomeranz is called on in the twin bill opener, A’s manager Bob Melvin said rookie Arnold Leo will make his major league debut.

The A’s and Mariners are playing twice Wednesday as a makeup for the April 4 game that was cancelled due to poor field conditions when a bad weather report led to the grounds crew not placing the tarp on the infield.

Melvin said he expects to have all of his relievers available Wednesday, although “some guys who threw a little more may be targeted for the night game.”

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Cespedes, Reddick out of lineup as A’s return home

cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes has a pair of RBIs in the A’s 3-2 win over the Red Sox on Sunday, but a hamstring injury will keep him from starting Monday’s game. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick are both out of the lineup as the A’s return home to face the Seattle Mariners on Monday night.

Reddick sprained his left ankle trying to get out of the batters box when he hit into an inning-ending double play in the ninth inning of the A’s 3-2 win in 10 innings against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said before Monday’s game that Reddick won’t be available for “a day or two. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

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Will ragged running game catch up to front-running A’s?

Tye Waller hasn't much liked what he's seen of the A's running the bases.

Tye Waller hasn’t much liked what he’s seen of the A’s running the bases.

To look at the A’s stolen base numbers – they had been successful on 19 of 21 steal tries entering Saturday – you’d think the Oakland running game is a fine-tuned machine.

It’s not. Stolen bases, while important, are only part of the base running package. And the rest of the package isn’t much to look at.

Twenty nine games in to the season, the A’s have made more than a half dozen outs running the bases. The latest came Friday when with men on first and second, Yoenis Cespedes hit a bullet to deep center. Josh Donaldson was already around second base when the ball was caught by Jackie Bradley Jr., and a great relay flip from Dustin Pedroia beat Donaldson back to first base.

“We keep doing it,’’ first base coach Tye Waller said Saturday. “We keep working on it, but we keep doing it.’’

Manager Bob Melvin talked to Donaldson about the play. The A’s were down 6-1 at the time en route to a 7-1 loss. It’s not like Donaldson was going to tie the game if he scored.

“We haven’t been very good base-running wise, no question,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “There is over-aggressiveness at times on our part, running with your head down. There is no reason to be aggressive in that situation. And he knows that, and it’s been addressed.’’

This road trip has seen the A’s running out of control at times. Monday in Arlington, Texas, Brandon Moss was picked off first base by Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos in the third inning and Josh Reddick was doubled off first base in the eighth. Texas’ center fielder Leonys Martin made a terrific catch with the A’s up 4-0 and Reddick, running with the pitch, had insufficient time to retreat.

“That’s the kind of thing we’ve done too much of,’’ Waller said. “When the play is in front of you like that, you have to make sure the ball isn’t caught. We can’t be getting doubled off like that.

“We’re constantly talking about it, keeping them aware. We’re going to get better. We can’t keep making these kinds of mistakes. We’ve been winning despite it, but you can’t keep doing that over six months without it catching up to you.’’

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Reddick resurgence prepares him for this Fenway visit

Josh Reddick

Josh Reddick (16) is riding high as he and the A’s head into Fenway Park this weekend

Josh Reddick returns this weekend to where it all started for him in a professional sense, Fenway Park, as the A’s visit the Red Sox for three games.

Actually, Reddick got a jump on the Fenway experience by using the A’s off-day Thursday to drop by as the Red Sox played a day-night doubleheader necessitated by a Wednesday rainout.

Reddick reappearance in Fenway happens just as he seems to be getting his game track back on course. He hit 32 homers for the A’s in 2012, the year after Boston traded him to Oakland in order to get its hands on reliever Andrew Bailey. The 2013 season was a wash thanks to Reddick’s season-long wrist injury, but when he led the A’s in RBIs during spring training, it seemed his bat had resurfaced.

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