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A's await Reddick's return


SAN FRANCISCO -- Having scored five or more runs in each of the first five games of their current road trip, you'd think the last thing the Oakland Athletics would need right now is more firepower.

But that's exactly what manager Bob Melvin believes he will be getting with the expected return of right fielder Josh Reddick from the disabled list in time for Tuesday's second of four consecutive matchups with the rival San Francisco Giants.

The A's didn't need Reddick on Monday night while pounding former teammate Jeff Samardzija in an 8-3 victory.

While that was happening, Reddick was 2,300 miles away in Nashville, Tenn., going 0-for-5 for the A's Triple-A affiliate.

Melvin sat at his desk after Monday's win hoping to get a report that Reddick, who broke his left thumb on May 19, had completed nine innings pain-free.

At that point, the manager was prepared to instruct his middle-of-the-lineup mainstay to jump on a flight to San Francisco in the morning and be prepared to face Giants right-hander Albert Suarez a few hours later.

"It feels good to be getting guys back," noted Melvin, who also got a good report on left-hander Rich Hill (strained left groin). "We're starting to get healthy."

Reddick was one of the hottest hitters in the American League at the time of his mishap sliding into second base. He'd hit .468 in his last 14 games.

Interestingly, Reddick's return comes at a time when he has been making headlines on both sides of the San Francisco Bay.

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Fox Sports reported during the weekend that the A's planned to reopen discussions on a contract extension with Reddick, who had been seeking a four-year deal when his representative and Oakland's negotiating team last talked.

The A's were offering only a three-year deal, leading to a stalemate that appeared to have Reddick, a five-year member of the organization, headed to free agency at season's end.

A .322-hitting pending free agent on a non-contender tends to have a target on his back as the annual trade deadline approaches, and Reddick's name already has become popular in trade rumors.

CSN Bay Area last week reported that the Giants, concerned about the long-term health of both their regular corner outfielders, have had internal conversations about Reddick.

The Giants have played the last 23 games without right fielder Hunter Pence, who is on the DL with a strained right hamstring.

They recently got oft-injured left fielder Angel Pagan back from 11- and 18-game absences because of hamstring issues of his own.

The Giants have been starting supersub Gregor Blanco in right field, but it has handcuffed Giants manager Bruce Bochy in the outfield to the point where he has had to use fragile center fielder Denard Span, who missed 101 games last season with back and hip problems, in 73 of the club's first 76 games.

The Giants also are without third baseman Matt Duffy (strained left Achilles), and on Monday Bochy felt compelled to sit out shortstop Brandon Crawford, who had played in every game since May 10.

"I can't keep putting these guys out there every day," Bochy said. "Even though they all want to play every day."

Suarez (3-1) will be matched up Tuesday with A's right-hander Kendall Graveman (3-6).