A’s right fielder Josh Reddick was optimistic that the oblique strain he sustained Friday might only sideline him for a few days. It turns out that was overly optimistic.
Manager Bob Melvin said Saturday that Reddick will be shut down for at least two weeks due to the strained right oblique muscle, leaving Reddick’s availability for Opening Day in question.
“He’s not going to do anything for two weeks, then it’s a progression to get him ready, to start from zero again,” Melvin said. “So I would think maybe Opening Day would be a stretch. But he has been a quick healer.”
It’s a frustrating setback for Reddick, who was injured during defensive drills Friday. The right fielder was off to a good start in Cactus League play, going 3 for 3 in his first game, and Melvin said for a hitter to appear so locked in so early in spring is “a rarity.”
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“So it’s disappointing,” Melvin said. “But it is better to happen now than later on.”
The A’s have a variety of options to replace Reddick early in spring. Melvin said Billy Burns, Alex Hassan and non-roster invitee Jason Pridie could see more time. The A’s could also give Ike Davis, expected to platoon at first base, some innings in right field.
Guest coach – There was an extra coach roaming around A’s camp Saturday: former 49ers and now-Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.
Harbaugh addressed the A’s briefly before their morning workout, then donned a uniform – complete with green stirrup socks and a No. 4 jersey – and coached first base for seven innings in their 8-7 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Hohokam Stadium.
“He had as much fun as anybody here,” Melvin said. “If we’d have gone 15 (innings), he probably would’ve stayed out there.”
Harbaugh and Melvin formed a close relationship while Harbaugh was coaching the 49ers. Both grew up in the south Bay Area – Harbaugh attended Palo Alto High School while Melvin went to nearby Menlo-Atherton, and they played on the same American Legion team, though not at the same time; Melvin is two years older.
Last season, Harbaugh was spotted at a handful of A’s games, while Melvin has watched 49ers games from the sideline and observed team workouts. Melvin said he has borrowed some of Harbaugh’s motivational tactics with players, while Harbaugh said he admires how Melvin is “so steady, so detail-oriented and so organized.”
Harbaugh said he picked up some ideas watching Melvin run drills Saturday morning and enjoyed his brief baseball coaching stint. He got outfielder Coco Crisp – the A’s regular No. 4 – to autograph his jersey and cap.
“We’re big Coco Crisp fans,” Harbaugh said.
Melvin said Harbaugh’s address to the team was brief, “But with him, he’s an inspiration just walking out here. He’s got that air about him.
“Plus,” Melvin added, “you don’t find too many guys that actually want to get in uniform and go out there.”
Et cetera – Stephen Vogt, coming back from offseason foot surgery, will make his spring debut at catcher Monday, Melvin said.
▪ The A’s win Saturday was of the walkoff variety. They entered the ninth trailing 7-6, tied it on an RBI triple by infielder Tyler Ladendorf and won on a bases-loaded infield single by infielder Renato Nunez. “For a kid that just turned 20 years old,” Melvin said about Nunez, “that’s exciting for him.”
▪ World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner gave up two runs and four hits as the San Francisco Giants fell to the San Diego Padres 7-6 on Saturday. Angel Pagan singled and walked and Brandon Belt had two hits for the Giants. Tim Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, allowed two runs on two hits in two innings. He walked one and struck out five.