OAKLAND -- When the A's were in the midst of their worst offensive struggles of the season a few weeks ago, outfielder Josh Reddick was the one player who was delivering consistently.
But with his teammates stepping it up at the plate in recent weeks, Reddick has gone the other direction. The 25-year-old entered Wednesday's game against the Dodgers having gone hitless in his last 15 at-bats, five short of his career-worst streak. In Tuesday's win against Los Angeles, Reddick struck out four times and left five men on base.
Reddick said the frustrating part about his recent poor hitting is that his approach has remained the same and his swing still feels good, yet he's not getting the results. From looking at video, the outfielder said he just sees himself swinging under fastballs that normally he's able to make solid contact with.
- 142 wins
- 110 wins
"I don't really want to push a panic button yet," Reddick said. "Just keep the same routine that I was doing when I was doing good. It's nothing that I feel mechanically, and routine-wise, just stay with it and stay with your approach."
The one positive is that that the lineup around Reddick has been performing better and the team is winning, mitigating the impact of his struggles. Manger Bob Melvin said he wasn't worried about Reddick, labeling his difficulties one of those streaks that every player goes through during a season. Melvin did indicate he might give his No. 3 hitter a day off soon to give him a rest.
With outfielder Yoenis Cespedes having been injured for several stretches this season, Reddick has been the team's most reliable power threat. His 15 home runs lead the A's and ranked ninth in the American League coming into Wednesday.
Cespedes returns to lineup as designated hitter
OAKLAND -- Yoenis Cespedes is no stranger to making adjustments at the Major League level, having done so plenty of times already while easing his way into the big league life.
On Wednesday, Cespedes faced yet another task, this one coming in the form of a new job at the designated hitter spot.
The slugger, who was limited to one at-bat in the past 10 games because of a strained left hamstring, went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored in the A's 4-1 win vs. the visiting Dodgers.
"He's never DH'd before, and that can be an acquired taste," manager Bob Melvin said. "It's basically pinch-hitting four times a game. He's going to have to find something to do to keep himself ready. That shouldn't be hard to do, but we'll ease into it, DH him today and then take it day to day as far as getting him out on the field."
By slotting Cespedes into the DH spot, the A's can reduce the pounding on his legs that would normally occur in the outfield. Staying loose between at-bats then becomes the issue, though Melvin noted Cespedes can preoccupy himself in the workout room when he's not at the plate.
"I've never been in that situation, not in the eight years I played in Cuba, never was the DH," Cespedes said through translator Ariel Prieto. "I played every single day on the field, because that's the way I liked it. I liked to be playing defense. Between at-bats, I was coming back here to the gym with the trainer to do work.
"I feel so good coming back to play, and I'm really, really happy, because we won against them."
Melvin was impressed with Cespedes' work ethic.
"One thing you worry about is pitch selection, whether or not he's prepared for the breaking ball after the layoff, but boy, he was on it," said Melvin. "It was pretty impressive to see a guy that was out in the fashion he had, coming in the DH role, kind of having to think about his injuries a little bit, to put together four at-bats like that was really nice to see."
Melvin's club is 21-16 with Cespedes in the lineup and 12-20 when he doesn't play.
"He's an important part of our lineup," Melvin said. "He's our No. 4 hitter. He drives in runs. You look at the record we have with him in the lineup, he's certainly a prevalent force in the middle of the lineup. It's good to get him back in the middle of the lineup, whether we're swinging the bats well or not."
Ross to take Colon's start Saturday vs. Giants
OAKLAND -- Right-hander Tyson Ross will start in place of an injured Bartolo Colon for Saturday's home game against the Giants, manager Bob Melvin confirmed Wednesday.
It was just four days ago when Ross received a spot start in Brandon McCarthy's stead, allowing two runs on one hit with six strikeouts over six innings against the Padres in an eventual no-decision, before being optioned to Triple-A Sacramento the next day.
For Ross to be eligible to return to the roster before his required 10-day Minor League stay is up, he would have to replace an injured member, as he's expected to do. Colon appears bound for the disabled list any day now, as he rests a strained right oblique he sustained in Sunday's outing.
On the mend, meanwhile, is Jordan Norberto, who is expected to be reinstated from the DL as soon as Thursday, after missing most of June with a left shoulder strain. Norberto struck out two in one perfect inning of relief in a rehab stint with Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. Ben Estes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.