ARLINGTON, Texas -– Josh Reddick is happy to be healthy and back in the A’s lineup.
Even better for the right fielder, he’s contributing.
In his first five games back from the disabled list, Reddick has four extra-base hits and is batting .313 (5-for-18). On Saturday night, he hit his first home run since May 16, part of a four-homer barrage that lifted the A’s to a 5-1 victory over the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park.
“I’m not looking for a home run. If I try to do that, I get myself out,” Reddick said. “I just put the barrel on the ball. In this ballpark, you don’t have to try to do it. It’s going to go if you get it, and sometimes if you don’t get it. It’s a great hitter’s ballpark.”
Most of the talk about Reddick’s value the past two seasons has centered on his Gold Glove-caliber defense. But after a nagging right knee injury that’s twice sent him to the D.L. in 2014, any offense that Reddick can contribute is a bonus for the A’s, who lead the majors with 515 runs scored but could always use a little more pop toward the bottom of the batting order.
Reddick is hitting just .236 with five homers and 26 RBI in 59 games, but he’s doubled three times in his past five games to go with Saturday’s homer.
“When you have a Josh Reddick down in the order, a guy who’s had a 32-home run season, it means you’re deep, and we are,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said Saturday. “… He’s had some good games where he’s driven some balls in the gaps and hit a homer today. So he seems to be at the point where he’s not worried too much about his knee.”
But precaution is being taken with that problematic knee. Reddick is wearing a brace on his right knee that he says he’s gradually getting comfortable with. He’s got a collection of braces that he was sorting through in his locker before Friday’s game. He tries to use one regularly for batting practice, and another for games just to reduce the wear and tear on any single one.
“I haven’t had any issues with (the knee) since coming back,” Reddick said. “I make sure I get in the training room, put ice on it. It definitely feels good to come back and contribute rather than coming back and being a blur in the lineup.”