OAKLAND -- Josh Reddick was out on the Coliseum field early this afternoon, running bases and making the sharp turns that marked one of the last boxes to check before the right fielder starts a minor-league rehab assignment. Reddick said everything went well and he felt no pain in his knee, and the plan is for him to join the Triple-A River Cats on Tuesday in Round Rock and play his first game Wednesday.
Right now, Reddick said he’s shooting to rejoin the A’s for a two-game series against the Mets in New York beginning June 24 -- next Tuesday. That will give Reddick a full week to get at-bats and get his timing back after a long layoff. Reddick last played in a game on May 31 against the Angels.
"They want me to get as comfortable as possible," Reddick said. "I’m not opposed to that by any means. I’m fine with playing two days, being off a day, playing two days and then meeting the guys back in New York.
Reddick did take batting practice on the field today. He said he’ll be off tomorrow while traveling and resume a normal schedule Wednesday with the River Cats. Reddick was hitting .214 before his injury, with four home runs and 22 RBIs.
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Meanwhile, it’s Stephen Vogt in right field for the A’s again tonight as they open a three-game series at home against the Texas Rangers. Here’s the full A’s lineup against Texas right-hander Colby Lewis:
And the Rangers’ lineup against A’s left-hander Drew Pomeranz:
* Reddick was among the many people in baseball who took to Twitter this morning to express sadness at the death of Tony Gwynn, the Hall of Fame outfielder who died this morning of cancer at the age of 54. Reddick wrote that Gwynn, who collected 3,141 hits during a 20-year career spent entirely with the San Diego Padres, was the "absolute best hitter I grew up watching … Very sad day in baseball."
"To be able to have a .338 career average and be able to steal bases like he did, too, it wasn’t like he was just a slap hitter that just got on base," Reddick said today. "(He was) definitely a big icon for a lot of guys. Who better to learn from than guys like that?"
A’s manager Bob Melvin played against Gwynn in the National League and said his memories of Gwynn "were he was on base all the time."
"I was asked earlier today on a radio show how you pitched him, and you just don’t," Melvin said. "You know he’s not going to strike out, and one of the unique hitters in that he could actually hit the ball where he wanted to a lot of times, directionally. … He was one of the great, great hitters of all time."
Melvin pointed out it has been "a bad couple of weeks" with the death of Gwynn coming closely on the heels of that of former A’s right-hander and Cy Young winner Bob Welch. The A’s plan to have a moment of silence for Gwynn before tonight’s game, as they did for Welch before the series opener against the Yankees on Friday night.
"Another tough day for baseball with some of these really, really good people," Melvin said. "It’s really too bad."
* On a happier note, the A’s reinstated Alberto Callaspo from paternity leave today and optioned infielder Andy Parrino back to Triple-A Sacramento. Callaspo is in the lineup tonight, having rejoined the team after the birth of a son.
"If you go another couple days without him being in the lineup, then he loses his edge even more," Melvin said. "So we wanted to get him back in there."
Callaspo, by the way, apparently has changed his number from 18 to 7. He wasn’t around before the clubhouse closed to ask about it, and Melvin said he didn’t know Callaspo had switched numbers. So check back later for the solution to that mystery.
The A’s also announced today they’ve reinstated Jake Elmore from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A. The infielder started the season on the 15-day DL with a strained left quad, then re-aggravated the injury during a rehab stint with the River Cats in early May and was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 18.
* Melvin said outfielder Craig Gentry had no lingering effects today from being hit in the head with a pitch by Jose Ramirez on Sunday. Gentry stayed in the game, though Melvin said the A’s "watched him pretty closely."
"Originally (trainer Nick Paparesta) was telling him, ‘You’re coming out,’ and he was having nothing to do with that," Melvin said. "Really responded well within the (first) couple of minutes (and) no residual effects as the game went along."
Melvin said catcher Derek Norris is also OK after being hit on the top of the left hand on a backswing in the ninth inning Sunday. Norris has been the recipient of several blows on backswings recently, including a couple to the head, which Melvin said is concerning.
"As a catcher you want to try to get up there and try to get the ball, especially with a sinkerballer, before it starts to come down, so there’s really not a whole lot you can do about it," Melvin said.
"It’s more, what could we do with some of the backswings of the hitters as opposed to what can we do with the catcher. I don’t have an answer for it, but it seems like it’s happening too often now that catchers are getting whacked pretty good."
* Pomeranz will face the Rangers for only the second time in his career and the first as a starter. The left-hander has allowed two or fewer runs in six of his seven starts since the A’s put him in the rotation, and he’s 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA as a starter overall.