Melvin giving slumping Reddick rest for stretch run

Melvin giving slumping Reddick rest for stretch run

ST. PETERSBURG -- Among the several factors that will decide Oakland's fate in the final weeks of the regular season is Josh Reddick's production.

Lately, there hasn't been much of it, and the downward trend -- he has a .175/.221/.300 batting line in August -- needs to reverse should the A's remain in playoff contention.

Much has been made of Yoenis Cespedes' value to the team -- and rightfully so, given the fact Oakland is 55-35 with him in the starting lineup, and just 12-22 when he's not. But Reddick, who has stayed on the field more than Cespedes this year, has proven to be of equal value.

In fact, Reddick's 3.9 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), which signifies the number of wins that a player has added to his team, leads the A's and, entering Friday, ranked 11th in the American League among a crowd that includes Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano.

No wonder his recent struggles -- Reddick has just 14 hits with 31 strikeouts over his last 94 at-bats -- are garnering so much attention.

"Everybody goes through stretches," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's been as consistent as anybody we've had, if not more so than anybody we've had, and that's why it stands out when you go through a stretch where you struggle some. He'll continue to be a force for us. He'll continue to be a mainstay. It's probably just a couple of hits there, maybe a bloop there, and he'll be back and off to the races again."

Looking for that time to come sooner than later, Melvin rested Reddick against tough Rays lefty Matt Moore on Friday. Combined with Sunday's scheduled team off-day, Reddick will get rest in two of the next three days -- equaling the number of days off he had received since July 28.

"He's a guy that, more than anybody, has played every day," Melvin said. "No [disabled list] stints, knock on wood, and an occasional DH day, but he's gone out there quite a bit, and this is his first full season in the big leagues on top of that. He's a guy we count on, so to give him this day and then with Sunday's off-day, hopefully you get some rejuvenation."

Reddick leads the A's with 25 home runs and, before August, which has brought his average down to .247, was batting .262 with a .834 OPS.