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PHOENIX – Josh Reddick arrived in Oakland A’s camp hoping to develop some amnesia.
A disappointing 2013 season serves as motivation for the right fielder, but more than anything, Reddick wants to move forward from last year and write a new chapter in 2014.
“I gotta turn the page and forget last year, it’s over,” Reddick said Friday. “I look at it as a speed bump in my career and you move on.”
If you’re looking for keys to the A’s season from an individual standpoint, Reddick’s ability to rebound ranks high on the list. After slamming 32 homers and driving in 85 runs in 2012, Reddick dipped to 12 homers and 56 RBI last season, partly because a sprained right wrist hampered his ability to drive the ball. Reddick underwent offseason surgery and says he’s 100 percent.
If he’s able to even approach similar production to 2012, it will be a huge boost for the A’s. They’ve got a dangerous leadoff man in Coco Crisp, run producers such as Josh Donaldson, Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss, and another hitter, Jed Lowrie, coming off a solid all-around season near the top of the lineup.
But getting some pop from Reddick in the lower half of the order would give opposing pitchers much more to think about. Reddick worked on some adjustments over the winter and sent video of himself to hitting coach Chili Davis. Early in the spring, Davis isn’t doing too much tinkering with his outfielder. He’s watching, and just as important, listening.
Davis wants Reddick to be aware of what’s going on with himself in the batter’s box, recognize what he's doing right or wrong and be able to relay his own thoughts and feedback back to Davis.
“I think it’s very important that when he works – in the cage, batting practice on the field -- that he’s working on something,” Davis said. “Last year, I couldn’t see the goal for him. For him to have a goal each time is important. I like what I see now, though. He looks shorter to the ball. He’s got that coil and turn, such flexibility in his body. The only thing I wanna see is him to be slow with his (front foot) tap, get to the ball in a shorter path.”
Reddick put on about 10 pounds over the winter and looks bulkier in his upper body. He’s determined to try to keep that weight on during the regular season.
“Hopefully my body will stay better and stronger, longer,” Reddick said. “Hopefully I won’t have to barrel up every ball I hit hard. Maybe I’ll get some balls that I don’t necessarily barrel up and they’ll still go out of the ballpark.”