Melvin sees major leadership potential in Reddick

PHOENIX -- Josh Reddick was just one of the many new faces that blended together in the A's clubhouse last spring. This year, it's hard not to notice him -- or, rather, his beard, which is past the two-inch mark.

"We'll see how long it'll go," he said.

Reddick was the latest player to arrive at camp on Friday, one day prior to the official reporting date for all A's position players. He looked to be right at home, as he should, following a breakout 2012 campaign that saw him compile a team-leading 32 home runs and 85 RBIs.

The A's right fielder, who turns 26 next week, stopped setting goals for personal numbers a long time ago. This year is no different, but that doesn't mean Reddick doesn't have other ambitions in mind, particularly with veteran leaders Jonny Gomes and Brandon Inge no longer around.

"If need be, I'll definitely step it up and be a leader," he said. "But I'm not going in with the mindset that I have to be that guy right now. If it is needed, I'll do whatever it takes. Obviously it would be something good for me to learn, but we have plenty guys in here who can teach me the ropes."

Names like Chris Young and Coco Crisp come to his mind. It also helps that he played shadow to one of the best in Gomes last year, soaking in as much as he could from the clubhouse ringleader, who doubled as his locker neighbor.

Reddick doesn't expect to fill the big shoes left by Gomes, but he'll keep them by his locker just in case.

"I think he prides himself in being one of those guys down the road but really knows not to overdo it when you're younger because it sometimes rubs guys a little bit wrong," manager Bob Melvin said. "But he learned from a guy that was very good at it, and I think he definitely has the ability to be a leader."

Melvin naturally has high hopes for the Gold Glove-winning Reddick following the season he produced last year.

"A guy like him who is young like that, had a great season -- you just want to see him try to get better," he said. "As great as his year was, there are some things he can work on to do that. He's one of those guys that's got the total ability, a hard worker. He prepares hard and expects good things to happen and expects to get better, and that's the type of guy you want on your team."

Earlier in the week, before he flew to Arizona, Reddick attended a special ceremony at alma mater South Effingham High School in Guyton, Ga., where his No. 24 was retired -- marking the first time the school had retired a number from any sport.

Now he's ready to get to work donning No. 16.

"One main goal is to win," he said. "That's our focus right now. It starts here."