OAK@MIN: Reddick singles to right, plates Cespedes

SEATTLE -- Josh Reddick is in need of a dose of confidence, and Felix Hernandez is not exactly the right prescription for a quick fix.

That is why manager Bob Melvin benched his struggling outfielder Friday for a second straight game.

Reddick has just three hits and 13 strikeouts in 29 at-bats, and Melvin explained at length Thursday his concern over Reddick's possibly taking too many frustrations to the plate. On Friday during early batting practice in Seattle, Melvin saw what could be the real issue.

It was something hitting coach Chili Davis also noticed while watching video with Reddick, who was expected back in the lineup Saturday.

"I thought he swung the bat really well today," Melvin said. "I think he's maybe pulling his head off a little bit. I know it sounds kind of remedial, pulling your head, because it's something you learn early in your career, but sometimes you're looking for everything but something like that.

"That would explain, if you're having some good swings but not identifying or seeing the ball early, it might be as simple as you're pulling your head off the ball."

Reddick is just 4-for-30 (.133) in his career against Hernandez. Brandon Moss, meanwhile, entered the day 7-for-22 (.318) off Seattle's ace, and he got the start in right field in place of Reddick.

Melvin to look at matchups in choosing closer

CLE@OAK: Gregerson fans two in A's debut

SEATTLE -- A day after he took Jim Johnson out of the closer's role, A's manager Bob Melvin expanded on his decision to rely on a committee in the ninth inning, essentially saying matchups would dictate who closes.

That means lefty Sean Doolittle and right-hander Luke Gregerson are likely to be called on for these duties the most, with Doolittle getting the nod if there are several left-handers on the way and Gregerson handling the right-handers.

Ryan Cook is typically lumped in this group, but he is still easing into things after missing the first week of the season while continuing rehab on a sore shoulder.

Doolittle and Gregerson are often thought to be more valuable in high-leverage situations in innings before the ninth. That is why Melvin will not always be saving them for the end.

"If we got into a situation where I wanted to use Doolittle and Gregerson before the ninth came, [Dan] Otero could step into that," he said before Friday night's game. "Those guys are used to coming in with traffic on the bases and getting some key outs earlier than the ninth inning. The ninth inning is the one you know is going to be a clean inning for you. The other times, once you get out there, you gotta be on it right away."

Johnson lost his ninth-inning role less than two weeks into the job with his new team, after he went 0-2 with a blown save and an 18.90 ERA in his first five appearances, but he is expected regain it at some point.

"I could definitely see that," Melvin said.

In the meantime, Melvin plugged Johnson into the seventh inning Friday with his club down by six runs in Seattle, and the right-hander responded by pitching two perfect innings with four strikeouts in the eventual 6-4 loss.

"That's the best we've seen him this year, no question about it," Melvin said. "A couple innings allows you to get in the flow and work on some things, and that was really good stuff.

"We're not switching anything up right now, but it's a good start for him to get back to pitching in the fashion he expects. That was by far the best stuff we've seen from him. "

Crisp out of lineup but likely closer to return

SEA@OAK: Crisp speeds around the bases for a triple

SEATTLE -- Coco Crisp wasn't in the A's starting lineup for a fourth straight game in Seattle on Friday, but he still managed to find his way onto the field as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of a 6-4 loss to the Mariners.

Crisp struck out in his first plate appearance since Sunday, but he will have plenty more tries Saturday, when he is expected back in the lineup six days after receiving a cortisone shot in his inflamed left wrist.

The veteran outfielder took batting practice on the field before the game, at which point it was decided he was cleared for game action.

Sam Fuld started in center for the A's in what may have been his last in green and gold, as he is expected to be designated for assignment when the A's activate Craig Gentry from the disabled list on Saturday.

Gentry likely to debut in Game 2 vs. Mariners

Craig Gentry is likely to make his A's debut on Saturday.

SEATTLE -- Craig Gentry has been with the A's since Thursday, but his name still was not on the lineup card Friday.

Still waiting to make his A's debut, Gentry was expected to be activated from the disabled list for the opener of Oakland's three-game series in Seattle. It now appears Saturday will be the day, with manager Bob Melvin saying there was a "good chance" of that happening.

But when asked why the outfielder was not added to the active roster Friday, Melvin remained mum and said, "There are details I would rather not get into."

The delay gives the A's another day with Sam Fuld and Daric Barton. Both are out of options, and it is likely that one of them will be designated for assignment upon Gentry's return. The club is more likely to part with Fuld, despite his impressive performance, because Gentry's skill set is so similar.

A slumping Josh Reddick has an option left and could be sent to Triple-A as the corresponding roster move, but Melvin said he expected Reddick in the lineup Saturday, which most likely ruled out a demotion.

Worth noting

• Catcher Derek Norris on Friday made his fourth start of the season against a right-handed starter, a nod to his early success against them. He entered the day batting .375 against right-handed starters, and Melvin said Friday that he would play the hot hand behind the plate, despite a platoon in place with John Jaso.

Jaso is expected to catch at least one, if not both, of the A's final two games in Seattle this weekend.