4/20/2014 7:27 P.M. ET
Reddick gaining confidence as bat heats up
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- A self-assured Josh Reddick is bringing a consistent swing to the plate these days.
An emotional player, Reddick too often gets in his own way at the plate. The A's outfielder had just four hits in his first 41 at-bats, but he has upped his batting average 102 points after going 6-for-9 with four RBIs in the first two games of the series against the Astros.
With success comes confidence, and Reddick is using it to hit the ball all over the field.
Saturday's game-winning hit was a liner to right-center, the same direction he hit his first homer on Friday. He's also pulled a pair of balls to right field, lining another to left this weekend.
"It's showing me it's where I want to be in the box with every pitch, inside, the outside and down the middle," Reddick said before Sunday's finale. "Being able to not be so pull-happy or go-the-other-way-happy, it shows I'm where I need to be and having the confidence in myself to do everything."
"I think any time guys struggle some, they tend to pull off the ball," said manager Bob Melvin. "It's easier said than done to say, 'I'm just going to stay on the ball and try to hit the ball the other way.' But when you get a little antsy, you're trying to hit that ball before it gets to you, so the trick is to let it travel some.
"I think it was key to get a hit to left field the other night, and now you're seeing him pull some balls. Even his homer was a little bit more right-center than you usually see him, and that's something he's really trying to do, is get a longer look at the ball."
Reddick entered Sunday on the heels of back-to-back three-hit games. He hadn't done that since August 2012.
"His swings have been really good, against righties and lefties, it doesn't really matter for him right now," said Melvin. "Hopefully that continues and he rides that wave some. We all know he has the ability to do it. Consistency will be the key for him at this point, and we feel like he's on his way."
Yoenis pulled with bruised right heel
OAKLAND -- A's left fielder Yoenis Cespedes left Sunday's 4-1 win over the Astros after six innings because of a bruised right heel.
Cespedes has been bothered by discomfort in the same heel off and on this season, but it's yet to keep him out of the starting lineup. That could potentially change when the A's open up a three-game series against the visiting Rangers on Monday night.
"We'll see how he is tomorrow," manager Bob Melvin said after Sunday's game. "He's had some sore feet before. It wouldn't surprise me if he's able to play tomorrow. If not, we'll go one day without him."
Cespedes, replaced in left by Craig Gentry to start the seventh, was 0-for-1 with a walk on the day but went 5-for-9 overall in the weekend series. His average sits at .254 after 18 games.
Gentry looks forward to facing former team
OAKLAND -- Craig Gentry has seen the A's from the other side.
"They're guys you knew were going to battle to the end," said Gentry. "You knew the game was never over. You knew it was going to be tough.
"Coming over here and being part of it now, it's spot on."
Oakland's new outfielder, acquired in a trade that sent Michael Choice to Texas in the offseason, has already been a part of two walk-off wins in the club's first 17 games. The A's have also come from behind when trailing after seven innings on four occasions.
Now he gets to see the Rangers, who took him in the 10th round of the 2006 Draft, from the other side. The two clubs will face each other for the first time this year in the opener of a three-game set in Oakland on Monday.
Making the trip will be Choice, who is 5-for-24 (.208) with a home run in 13 games (five starts) for Texas.
"I want to beat every team," Gentry said, "but coming from there, it kind of gives you a little more incentive."
"It is a little bit of a big deal for you," said manager Bob Melvin. "You know the guys on the other side, have played with them for a while, and it's kind of weird to be on the opposite side of it. But after that first series, then you just kind of go about your business."
Gentry spent eight years in Texas' organization, including parts of five seasons in the Majors, batting .280 with a .355 on-base percentage and 56 stolen bases in 323 games for the Rangers.
In that time he also picked up on a growing rivalry between the A's and Rangers.
"Definitely," he said. "Playing these guys over the last few years, it's a different ball game. Rarely is it a blowout in either direction. You can feel the tension, feel the heat as those games went on. You always know it's going to be a good game. I'm looking forward to it from the other side now."
Fuld heads to Twins on waiver claim
OAKLAND -- Though the A's hoped to retain Sam Fuld, they knew their chances to do so were slim.
On Sunday, the outfielder officially departed the organization after being claimed off waivers by an injury-depleted Twins club.
Fuld hit .200 with a pair of triples, a homer and four RBIs in seven games for the A's before he was designated for assignment April 12 upon Craig Gentry's return from the disabled list.
There simply wasn't room on Oakland's roster for five outfielders, despite Fuld's versatility and defensive ability. Gentry is equipped with a similar skill set and entered Sunday with seven hits in 17 at-bats (.412) since coming off the DL.