OAKLAND, Calif. — Houston Astros right fielder Josh Reddick has made a habit of running into outfield walls while chasing fly balls at full speed during his major league career.
Reddick’s latest collision landed him on the seven-day concussion disabled list, but he’ll be activated Tuesday and start in right field against the Oakland Athletics, his former team, at the Oakland Coliseum.
Reddick was injured while trying to catch a deep fly ball by the Texas Rangers’ Joey Gallo on June 12 at Minute Maid Field. Gallo wound up with a triple. Reddick wound up with a concussion.
“Ran into it full speed,” Reddick said Monday before the Astros opened the four-game series with a 4-1 victory against the A’s. “It wasn’t the wall that did it. I actually came down awkwardly and hit the ground. I head-butted the ground. That’s when I did it, and I was told I did it because I don’t remember doing it. So that probably makes sense for why all this came about. Just trying to make a play.”
Reddick, who won a Gold Glove with the A’s in 2012, said he is ready to return to action at the Coliseum, his baseball home from 2012 until Aug. 1, 2016, when the A’s traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“All the testing has come back pretty good,” Reddick said. “I passed everything. I’ve been saying for the last few days I’ve been feeling great and haven’t had any headaches or dizziness. I’m ready.”
Reddick, who signed a four-year contract with Houston on Nov. 23 last year, is batting .281 with 12 doubles, two triples, six home runs and 24 RBIs in 59 games.
Reddick will return to action against A’s right-hander Sonny Gray, a pitcher he is very familiar with — after watching him pitch for so many years. Gray, who is rumored to be a potential trade target for the Astros, made his major league debut in 2013.
Gray (2-2, 4.44 ERA) began this season on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder and will make just his 10th start. He is 0-1 with a 5.87 ERA and .319 opponents batting average over his past four starts. In his first five starts, Gray went 2-1 with a 3.34 ERA and .216 opponents batting average.
Gray is 4-2 with a 2.53 ERA in eight career starts against the Astros, but he’ll face them for the first time this season.
The A’s came into Monday’s game after a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees at the Coliseum. A’s manager Bob Melvin said he had memories of his 2012 A’s team that used a sweep of the Yankees as a springboard to a strong second half and a trip to the playoffs.
“Yeah, it did,” Melvin said. “And we had a lot of younger guys then too. I have to go out of my way to say I’m not comparing the two situations, but in ’12 it really sent us on our way. We really found our confidence in that series and then when you look at the numbers in the second half, they were pretty spectacular.
“I think just the fact there were any number of younger guys that were not only with us here but contributed in it, goes a long way in making them believe, ‘OK, I’m in the big leagues now and we can perform against the best teams and do it well.’ So I think confidence-wise, whether it’s Matt Chapman, whether it’s Chad Pinder, whether it’s Jaycob Brugman, guys like that that are trying to find themselves at the big league level and feel confident about it. A series like that can go a long way for them.”
Astros right-hander Francis Martes, a hard-throwing rookie, will make his second major league start and third appearance.
In his first start on Wednesday, Martes allowed one run on three hits over five innings with seven strikeouts and two walks in a 13-2 victory against Texas.
“He’s got good stuff,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “He flashed really good stuff across the board. High-end velocity, really good breaking ball, mixed in a couple changeups. Came up really big in an inning where it could have spiraled away from him. He came up with some big strikeouts.
“We were encouraged by what we saw because his stuff is elite across the board and it plays in the strike zone. When he’s in the strike zone and not giving away free 90 feet, he’s a completely dominant pitcher.”
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