Reddick deserves Gold Glove recognition

September 13, 2012, 12:50 am
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ANAHEIM -- The A's may have much more on their minds than individual achievements, but as a member of the media, we get the luxury of narrowing our focus. Allow me to be the first to officially write it: Josh Reddick needs to be in the Gold Glove conversation. It seems like every game Reddick does something that impresses defensively. Two such occasions stuck out on Tuesday night. With Albert Pujols batting with runners on the corners and two outs in the second inning, Reddick made a sliding catch in foul territory to take the bat out of Pujols' hands. Reddick had to range very far to make the grab. He was in a full sprint as he slid into the barrier to make the snag. In the first inning Pujols also came up with runners on the corners. He hit a shallow fly ball to right field that Reddick caught cleanly. Mike Trout, arguably the fastest runner in baseball, was on third base and he didn't even think to challenge Reddick's throwing arm. If the fastest runner in baseball isn't going to challenge Reddick than you know the league is taking notice. He is second in the major leagues with 14 outfield assists, and currently has the fifth-highest single season total in Oakland history since Dwayne Murphy in 1985. You'd think that is a good thing, but in Reddick's mind it is sort of a problem."It's a great feeling that nobody does want to run on me," Reddick said. "But at the same time it kind of stinks because I want people to run, I want to throw people out."Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur leads Major League Baseball with 18 outfield assists. Reddick is surprised people keep challenging his fellow right fielder. He might be a little envious. "I've come out of no where in throwing people out and you have a guy like Francoeur that's been doing it for years and people are still running on him," Reddick said. "He's still leading the league in outfield assists no matter what." The outfield assists stick out because they are easy to track statistically. Reddick is getting it done in a myriad of ways though, not just with his howitzer for a throwing arm. On July 25 in a 16-0 defeat of the Blue Jays, Reddick scaled the outfield wall and hung there to make a catch and earn himself the "Spider-Man" nickname. Two days later he plowed full speed into a wall in Camden Yards making a game-ending (and potential saving) catch in a 14-9 win over the Orioles. He lays out for the ball, he crashes into the wall, he slides, he leaps ... he takes a WWE style approach to defense. "I've just always been somebody that will do whatever it takes to catch the ball," Reddick said. "It doesn't matter if there's a brick wall or a padded wall there, as long as I catch it then it doesn't matter how much pain I'm going through."Reddick leads the A's with 28 home runs and 75 RBIs, but he is in a bit of a slump at the plate. He is hitting .077 (3-for-39) over his last 10 games, but he isn't taking his issues at the plate onto the field on defense. According to manager Bob Melvin and his teammates, that is a true testament to his character. "What he continues to do is not get down on himself offensively and contribute on the defensive end," Melvin said. "I've said he is playing Gold Glove right field and he has all year."
"Just like any young guy, your season is going to be up and down offensively and you can't take that into defense," Jonny Gomes said. "That is one thing he hasn't done. There isn't a stat for that. The guy could go 0-for-4 but save two runs, so he's definitely contributed with his defense and with offense." For Reddick, saving a run is just as important as putting one on the scoreboard. He believes if he can keep contributing in the outfield, the offense will pick back up again. "You never know what play is going to help out your team and change the outcome of the game," Reddick said. "If it's not working out on one side, then I'll just worry about the other side and take my mind off the hitting part right now." Reddick's year-long contributions in the field have done wonders for an A's pitching staff that is stacked with rookies. Starting pitcher Tommy Milone agrees that Reddick is a Gold Glove-caliber defender. As a guy that thrives on pitching to contact he can be confident knowing Reddick has his back. "It's what we've seen all year," Milone said. "He hustles to anything that's close to him. He lays out gives it his full effort and usually he'll come up with the ball."