The Buddy Reed Show might have to go on a temporary hiatus this spring.
Before Wednesday’s game against the Royals, A’s manager Bob Melvin revealed that Reed -- who has put the big league staff on notice with his impressive start to camp -- is dealing with a right quad strain. The 25-year-old outfielder underwent an MRI on Tuesday, and the club was still awaiting the results of the exam as of Wednesday morning.
“It was one swing in the cage yesterday and he just felt it,” Melvin said. “It was enough to where the training staff didn’t want him to play and shut him down. It could be a while, unfortunately.”
Reed, Oakland’s No. 21-ranked prospect, per MLB Pipeline, emerged as one of the stars of Spring Training with his penchant for making highlight-reel plays on a near-daily basis. His most recent act saw him rob reigning American League MVP José Abreu of extra bases with a spectacular leaping catch that was perfectly timed at the center-field wall.
His impressive spring résumé grew rapidly during the first week of Cactus League action, which featured him gunning down runners on the basepaths with assists from two different outfield spots, two clutch home runs and a steal of third base.
"He was definitely on our radar," Melvin said. "The playing time he was getting had a lot to do with the fact that he's performing well. That's what it's all about. If you perform well, you get reps. I didn't expect him to be getting as many at-bats as he did. We didn't see a ton of him last year, and there are a lot of things to like about him. His speed. He's got some power. Obviously, plays some good defense and has a strong throwing arm.
"We knew it was about the bat catching up to the rest of the tools. The batting average doesn't look great, but he's gotten some impactful hits."
Reed's 15 games played this spring were tied for most on the club entering Wednesday, and his 24 at-bats were the second-most of any A's player. Though it was considered a long shot for Reed to make the club out of Spring Training, especially given that he’s not currently on the A’s 40-man roster, the fact that he was not a part of the group of players who were optioned earlier this week was viewed as a positive sign regarding his chances. The door was still open for Reed to show out in front of the big league club and possibly earn his way onto the roster. Now injured for an unknown amount of time, his path to Oakland will likely have to be prefaced with a stint in the Minor Leagues to begin the season.
“This is the best opportunity he’s ever had to play,” Melvin said. “I know it’s still Spring Training, but he’s gotten a lot of at-bats and played with the A-group at times. I’m sure he’s very disappointed.”
Reed’s injury also digs the A’s into a bit of a hole for spring games. With center fielder Ramón Laureano dealing with left side soreness that kept him out of Tuesday’s game, Mark Canha got the start in center on Wednesday, and is the only player in big league camp with extended playing time at the spot. Melvin also indicated that outfielders Ka’ai Tom and Cody Thomas are candidates to see time in center while Reed and Laureano remain sidelined.
“We’re a little limited as far as center field right now.”