-- Two A’s players working their way back from injuries faced each other at the Coliseum on Tuesday afternoon. Right-hander Jarrod Parker, returning from Tommy John surgery, threw to live hitters before the A’s game against the Texas Rangers. One of those hitters was right fielder Josh Reddick, who’s recovering from a strained oblique.
"I lost," Reddick said. "I had three flyouts."
Outcomes aside, it was a positive day for both players. Reddick is on track to rejoin the A’s for Saturday’s game against the Seattle Mariners -- but he has one long trek to make first. Reddick said he’ll drive to San Bernardino on Wednesday, make a rehab start there for Single-A Stockton on Thursday, then drive back up to Oakland on Friday in order to make his season debut against Seattle and Felix Hernandez.
Reddick didn’t sound overly excited about the drive, but he said he is encouraged by his progress coming back from the early-March oblique strain.
"Timing’s still not 100 percent, but it’s coming along," Reddick said. "I’m seeing pitches well, recognizing them. Not quite putting swings on them the way I want to yet, but I feel like it’s something I’m ready for. Thursday will be a good tune-up before Saturday."
Reddick said Parker "looked really good," with good movement on all three pitches (fastball-changeup-curveball), and that he "seemed to have great command of everything." Parker threw two innings of 15 pitches each, resting in between to simulate inning breaks, as he works on building back his stamina. Parker said he was pleased with the throwing session and joked that Reddick "got some of the better stuff."
"But moving the fastball around is what I wanted to do ever since I started the comeback trail," Parker said. "Just move my fastball around, whether it’s up, down, I just want to be aggressive with it."
Parker’s next outing will be three innings in a simulated game Monday at the A’s minor-league complex in Arizona.
"He looks like he has the last couple times out," said manager Bob Melvin, who watched Parker’s session from behind the backstop. "If you didn’t know the difference, you would think he was pitching in a real game."
* Right-hander Jesse Hahn makes his A’s debut tonight, and the A’s do have one lineup tweak. Craig Gentry, who led off in the opener, is bumped down to the ninth spot against right-hander Colby Lewis. Eric Sogard, who batted ninth Monday night, will hit second tonight behind leadoff man Sam Fuld.
"You didn’t expect me to run the same lineup out there two games in a row, did you?" Melvin said, adding that Gentry will likely be at the top of the lineup again Wednesday against Rangers left-hander Ross Detwiler.
The full Tuesday lineup:
And the Rangers’ lineup against Hahn:
* Monday was a good showing for the A’s new infield defensively, with first baseman Ike Davis standing out. Davis picked several low throws out of the dirt and showed off some good range on a couple of ground balls to his right.
"Maybe Ike will let (second baseman Eric Sogard) have a ball tonight," Reddick joked.
Melvin pointed out a sound first baseman is important at the Coliseum, where all the foul territory can turn an overthrow into two extra bases easily. "He’s tall on top of it," Melvin said of Davis. "(Other infielders) know if they can just get it in the vicinity, he’s going to clean it up."
Melvin said Davis’ defense will likely keep him in close games and get him playing time against left-handed pitchers, at least to start.