By the end of last season, Addison Russell looked like one of the steals of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. After the A's made him the 11th-overall pick, Russell played solid defense at shortstop and hit .369 in 55 games as he raced through three levels, reaching Class A Burlington for the season's final weeks.
The A's were so impressed that they sent Russell, their No. 1 prospect according to MLB.com, to start his first full professional season at Class A Advanced Stockton. Just 19 years old, Russell was the youngest player in the California League on Opening Day.
Russell struggled with the aggressive assignment early on. Through 23 games, he was hitting .161 with 34 strikeouts, only six extra-base hits and a .573 OPS. But he has made strides lately, hitting .308 over his past nine games to raise his average by 45 points and his OPS to 751. In that nine-game stretch, he has nine extra-base hits, including four of his five home runs, plus four multi-hit games, matching his total in his first 23 games.
And Russell's manager, Webster Garrison, has been impressed by his young shortstop.
"It hasn't been a great first half for him numbers-wise," Garrison said. "But he's playing good baseball. He's playing a good shortstop and hitting the ball hard.
"He's eager to learn and has high upside."
Garrison said Russell has at times appeared frustrated by his hitting. But he has managed to avoid taking his offensive struggles with him to shortstop. Garrison has also been impressed with Russell's drive to improve.
"He's eager to learn," Garrison said. "He wants to get better in the whole game -- where to play guys, preparing before games.
"Once he starts swinging the bat a little better, he's definitely going to stand out."
Jaso still affected by right shin injury
ARLINGTON -- Five days have passed since John Jaso was last seen behind the plate, and he wasn't there for Monday's series opener in Texas, either.
The A's catcher is still bothered by a right shin injury he sustained on a hit-by-pitch Wednesday. He started at designated hitter on Saturday and was to be available off the bench Monday.
"He was in the bullpen, and it bothered him some getting down," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I don't think his mobility was all there. Hopefully, with another day, he'll be able to catch tomorrow."
Jaso is batting .279 when catching and has a .195 average as the DH this season.
Reddick may avoid surgery, eyeing rehab assignment
ARLINGTON -- The A's understand that wrist surgery is still a possibility for outfielder Josh Reddick, but they're also optimistic that he can avoid it.
How optimistic? Well, they're having Reddick join the team in Houston on Friday for a round of batting practice. And, "if everything goes well there," manager Bob Melvin said Monday, "we'll look for a rehab assignment for him.
"I don't think you rule anything out," Melvin continued, "but certainly he's progressing to the point where we're not talking about surgery. We're talking about a rehab assignment."
Reddick, whose right wrist has kept him out of game action since May 6, is eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday. It seems more likely, though, that he could rejoin the A's at some point during their homestand next week.
In the meantime, Chris Young is expected to draw the majority of starts in right field.
Resop clears waivers, outrighted to Triple-A
ARLINGTON -- Reliever Chris Resop has passed through waivers, allowing the A's to keep the right-handed veteran in their system as bullpen depth.
Resop, who was designated for assignment on Friday, cleared waivers Monday morning and was outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento.
The 30-year-old did not allow an earned run over his first seven appearances with the A's, but he surrendered 12 in his last 11 games, spanning 11 2/3 innings, for a 9.26 ERA in that stretch. Overall, opponents were hitting .293 against him.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.