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Full of energy, Reddick returns to A's lineup

OAKLAND -- Back in the A's lineup for the first time since May 6 after being reinstated from the disabled list, an anxious Josh Reddick was bouncing off the clubhouse couches Friday afternoon. Literally.

With an electric fly swatter that resembled a tennis racket in hand, Reddick went after his target with fierce focus, ultimately succeeding. Reddick casually jumped off the couch, exclaiming, "My timing's back!"

It remains to be seen whether that holds true with his bat, but the A's are confident a healthy Reddick can be plenty more productive than he was before he hit the DL on May 8 with a sprained right wrist. He was hitting .152 at the time.

Reddick, who started in right field from the seventh spot in the batting order for Friday's series opener against the White Sox, is fresh off four Minor League rehab games. He went 3-for-14 in that time and says his swing is "a lot better."

"I was able to pull the ball with some authority again," Reddick said before going 1-for-3 with a go-ahead double in the club's 3-0 victory behind Bartolo Colon.. "Not having to worry about the body restricting it from doing that for the first time in over a month. Hopefully, I can get back to where I need to be."

Reddick mostly hit third last year, when he ended up with 32 home runs, but that spot has been reserved for Yoenis Cespedes this season. Reddick thinks he can get back there, with Cespedes batting behind him, and his manager agrees.

"I'd love to see him return to that spot," Bob Melvin said. "We were probably playing our best baseball at times when he was in that third spot. If he's in the third spot, it means he's swinging the bat well and he's driving the ball."

"I just don't want to screw anything up," said Reddick, whose teammates won 11 of their last 13 games entering Friday's slate. "They've done a heck of a job without me. I want to come here and jump on this train and keep it going. Not necessarily drive it. Just jump on the back cart and keep going with it."

With Reddick back in tow, the A's have a full complement in their crowded outfield again, with Melvin ready to mix in Seth Smith and Chris Young with regulars Cespedes, Coco Crisp and Reddick, using the designated hitter to give away at-bats, too.

"It's a luxury to have a full complement and few guys on the disabled list, but over the course of the season it's not going to be that way," Melvin said. "That was why we went out and got some added depth in the outfield. We've had all of our starting outfielders on the DL at some point in time this year.

"It seems like we're never at full strength completely, but if we are we'll figure out a way to do it."

While adding Reddick back to the roster, the A's were forced to option Luke Montz to Triple-A Sacramento. Montz hit .179 with one home run and five RBIs in 13 games with the A's. He started eight times, all against left-handed pitching and all at designated hitter.

"That was strictly based on the personnel we had at the time, a DH getting at-bats against left-handed pitching," said Melvin. "That can be difficult to do when you're used to getting at-bats every day. He is a good player, gives you a lot of versatility. The role he had here probably wasn't conducive to being all that productive."

Jane Lee is a reporter for Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.
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