OAKLAND -- Struggling outfielder Josh Reddick was noticeably absent from Sunday's starting lineup. So were his trademarked long locks of hair, thanks to an overzealous haircutter on Saturday.
But Reddick's absence seemed to be mere coincidence, and not a result of his 2-for-22 (.100) start to the season. For the series finale against the Mariners and right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, A's manager Bob Melvin inserted early-season sparkplug Sam Fuld into the starting lineup in right field, batting seventh.
Asked about the lineup change, Melvin suggested it was more about Fuld than it was about Reddick.
"He's swung the bat well in his recent at-bats, and I want to keep him fresh," Melvin said of Fuld. "It's a little bit of a balancing act with the roster we have right now."
Fuld, 32, made the A's out of Spring Training after putting together a strong camp as a non-roster invitee. He followed that up by going 3-for-9 with two triples in limited action to start the year.
So with Craig Gentry's imminent arrival to Oakland off the 15-day disabled list, Sunday served as something of an audition for Fuld, who is trying to convince the A's that a five-man outfield could work.
Reddick is not the only A's regular who struggled in the opening week of the season, as Josh Donaldson (.091) and Yoenis Cespedes (.200) were also trying to put an end to slumps.
"When you get off to a slow start, whether it's [Donaldson] or Reddick, sometimes you try to do little bit too much," Melvin said. "You're a guy that the team relies on offensively and you get a little frustrated, but he'll get it back."
Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.