A's fill hole in right field after veteran fractures left thumb
By Mark Chiarelli
OAKLAND -- A's outfielder Josh Reddick will see a hand specialist Monday and receive a more definitive timeline of recovery for his fractured left thumb, an injury he sustained on a headfirst slide Thursday night against the Yankees.
Oakland placed Reddick on the 15-day disabled list Friday and called up 27-year-old outfielder Jake Smolinski from Triple-A Nashville. Smolinski started in right field and hit seventh in Friday's 8-3 loss to the Yankees.
Reddick, who will see Dr. Mathias Masem, told reporters Thursday night he expects to miss four to six weeks. The A's now have 12 players on the disabled list, the most they've had at one time since at least 1979.
Smolinski is the first of a potential revolving door of candidates tasked with filling Reddick's void in right field, and he has prior experience at the position.
"We really like Jake," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "When you get him some consistent at-bats, like anybody, it seems like he does a lot better. He can be very impactful. When he's swinging the bat well, he has power. He hits the ball to all fields. He has a real simple swing. He's a good player."
Melvin cited Smolinski's recent performance in the Minors -- he has 10 hits in his past 18 at-bats, including going 3-for-4 with a homer Thursday -- as a reason for his callup. Melvin said the team will "play it by ear" moving forward regarding who takes right field.
Smolinski, who found out around midnight that he'd be getting called up, said the opportunity to contribute immediately was exciting.
"Any time you're in the big leagues, it's exciting," Smolinski said. "When you're in the lineup, it's even more exciting. It's unfortunate. We're pulling for a speedy recovery for Josh and we want him back, but we have to keep moving forward and I'll try to do what I can do to help to the team."
Melvin said the A's will face a slew of righties after Friday, and they could use switch-hitting Billy Burns in right field. Chris Coghlan, who has been playing second base in place of injured infielder Jed Lowrie, also has experience playing right field, and he could become a viable option once Lowrie returns from a right shin contusion. Melvin said Lowrie could come off the disabled list and re-join the team as early as next Wednesday.
Mark Chiarelli is a reporter for MLB.com based in Oakland. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.