OAKLAND — Josh Reddick had his head buried in his locker with his back to the rest of the clubhouse.
The right fielder, who fractured his thumb in the Oakland Athletics’ 4-1 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night, was so angry that he almost seemed calm.
“Frustrating isn’t even the word,” Reddick explained as he stood up to address the herd of reporters that had descended upon his locker. “It’s pissed off.”
The A’s have been hit with so many injuries that manager Bob Melvin has lost track of how many of his players have landed on the shelf.
“Does that take us to 11 or 12 on the DL right now?” Melvin asked.
The answer is 12, which means the A’s have more players on the disabled list than any other team in baseball.
That list includes former All-Star Henderson Alvarez and starting second baseman Jed Lowrie, but there’s no avoiding the reality that the loss of Reddick is the most painful yet.
“He hits third for us everyday,” Melvin said, when asked to explain the magnitude of the injury. “He’s one of the better players in the league,”
After going 2-for-3 — including his fourth-inning solo shot that bounced off the top of the out-of-town scoreboard in right field — Reddick had run his average all the way to .322.
That was before he slid safely into second base on a steal attempt in the seventh inning and fractured his thumb colliding with one of Starlin Castro’s spikes.
According to Reddick, the initial timeline for his return to the lineup is four to six weeks.
“I was having a great year,” Reddick said. “[I had] cemented myself as a three-hole hitter with this team.”
The timing of the injury is particularly cruel for Reddick and his club. After winning four of five, the A’s record stands at a respectable 19-23.
Now, Oakland must make do without one of its top offensive contributors and its most dangerous threat from the left side of the plate for at least a month.
There’s no telling where the A’s will be in the standings by the time Reddick returns in late June to mid-July. And if the team does take a turn for the worse, there won’t be much time for the free-agent-to-be to prove he’s healthy and rebuild his trade value before the deadline rolls around.
“Something so simple can be so damaging,” Reddick said. “You couldn’t understand the frustration involved in this.”