6/25/2014 12:19 A.M. ET
Norris still recovering from backswing to the head
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- A's catcher Derek Norris is still on the mend from the latest backswing he took to his head Sunday, all the while brainstorming with his manager on ways to avoid what's becoming a scary trend.
Norris, who had to leave Sunday's game prematurely when he was drilled by a backswing for nearly the 10th time this season, was out of the lineup Tuesday in New York and wasn't a firm in-game option. Melvin wanted to see how he came out of pregame activities before declaring as much.
"He's gotten hit a number of times," said Melvin. "Our other guys have gotten hit some, too. It's not just him, but he's been back there the most, gotten hit the most. The last one was pretty significant in that it didn't get much helmet, it got more the side of the head. We were pretty concerned about that. If he feels like he needs to do something behind the plate to get a little more comfortable, we're all for that."
Norris was considering it over the weekend, but after watching video of his positioning, he isn't so sure a change would do him any good.
"I don't really think that would matter," he said. "Even the umpires are getting hit by some swings. Even if I was moved out of the catcher's box, I feel like I would still be hit somehow, some way. I don't really know what I'm going to do. I guess whenever I'm coming inside, just making sure I'm catching it and then maybe moving toward the right side to get out of the way. I think, ultimately, it's going to be up to the hitter to figure this out.
"I think guys are taking more aggressive swings and they're letting go of their top hand. Guys have done it for years, but they're coming unglued and leaving their whole body out in the backswing. I think guys are just trying to hit the ball 900 feet. They're trying to be really aggressive, they're gangster hacking out there. We're just on the receiving end of it."
Norris did speak with Red Sox catcher David Ross over the weekend about rhino linings found on truck beds, which Ross had inserted in his own helmet to offset the blow of backswings and foul balls. Ross missed much of last season with a concussion.
So little is in their control, though, which is why Melvin may be a proponent of invoking some sort of penalty on backswings -- perhaps an out on the batter even.
"I think, at some point in time," he said, "you have to look into it for safety issues. It's tough because guys go up and they're not thinking about their backswings. They're just taking their swings they've worked on. But when you're talking about someone getting hit in the head constantly, it becomes a safety issue."
A's activate Reddick, place Blanks on DL
NEW YORK -- Right fielder Josh Reddick was reinstated from the disabled list and immediately inserted into the A's starting lineup against the Mets on Tuesday.
That was the good news. Reddick, though, took the roster spot of Kyle Blanks, who was forced to the DL with a left calf strain.
The severity of Blanks' injury is seemingly mild, with manager Bob Melvin hoping the first baseman only needs the minimum 15 days to get back to full health.
Had Blanks made it to New York injury-free, the A's appeared in position to option Eric Sogard to Triple-A Sacramento. Sogard, batting just .196 on the season, including .136 over his last 12 games, was held out of the lineup against former teammate Bartolo Colon on Tuesday, with Alberto Callaspo getting the nod at second base against the righty instead.
Reddick, initially placed on the DL on June 3 with a hyperextended right knee, went 7-for-16 with three doubles during a four-game rehab stint with Sacramento, which included a four-hit game on Saturday.
"He took it very seriously what we said to him about not just getting your at-bats and getting your work in and expecting to get called back up, but going down and performing," said Melvin. "He went down and performed beautifully. His knee was tested in a number of ways. It feels great. He swung the bat well, so probably best served to get him right back in the lineup."
"I got to test it every way possible," said Reddick. "First night, went down in the corner and got to plant and throw. The last day, I was trying to score from second and got held up at the last minute and had to put the brakes on, but no pain in the knee. I feel great."
The outfielder said he's undecided whether he'll keep "Careless Whisper" as his walk-up song upon his return to Oakland next week.
Third-base prospect Nunez gets Futures Game nod
NEW YORK -- A's prospect Renato Nunez has been named to the World roster for the 16th annual XM All-Star Futures Game, to be played July 13 at Minnesota's Target Field.
The organization is not represented on the U.S. roster.
Nunez, a third baseman ranked by MLB.com as the club's No. 6 prospect, entered the day batting .272 with 12 home runs and 39 RBIs through 65 games for Class A Advanced Stockton.
He was signed by the A's in 2010 for $2.2 million out of Venezuela.
The Futures Game, slated for 2 p.m. PT, will be featured on MLB Network for the first time and will be called by Matt Vasgersian, Sean Casey and Heidi Watney, along with MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.
All-Star hopeful Cespedes continues June tear
NEW YORK -- On the cusp of breaking through the Top 3 in All-Star voting among American League outfielders, the A's Yoenis Cespedes continued his June tear Tuesday with two of the club's four hits.
Cespedes compiled an RBI double in the first inning of Oakland's 10-1 loss to the Mets and added a single in the fourth, upping his batting average to .269.
The left fielder, currently ranked fourth in All-Star voting among outfielders, has hit safely in each of his last nine games, going 13-for-35 in that span. He's batting .326 in June.
Moreover, Cespedes' nine assists -- eight have come in his last 25 games in the field -- lead all Major League outfielders.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
• The A's are still targeting lefty Eric O'Flaherty's return for early July, which means the rehabbing reliever could be back on a big league mound as soon as next week.
O'Flaherty has made five Minor League rehab appearances, including four with Triple-A Sacramento, allowing two earned runs and three hits with one walk and two strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings for the River Cats.
• Outfielder Craig Gentry received a cortisone shot in his knee Sunday, making him unavailable for Tuesday's game in New York.