A few stars return, but a couple more get hurt
We’re about two weeks from 2021 Opening Day, and the Oakland A’s have good news and bad news on the injury front. A couple players are set to make their spring debuts after recovering from previous issues, but a couple others are newly hurt.
The new injuries begin with Ramon Laureano, who was a late scratch from Tuesday’s Cactus League game. The problem is left side soreness, reports Melissa Lockard of The Athletic, which he first experienced taking swings in the cage, adds Shayna Rubin of the Mercury News.
But that’s not the only hit to the CF depth chart. Wednesday morning brought word that Buddy Reed has a right quad strain, reports Rubin, also incurred in the batting cage per Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle. “It could be a while” for Reed, says manager Bob Melvin.
Laureano and Reed both had MRIs on Wednesday, with further details coming later today.
Analysis: Can’t say much until we know how badly they’re hurt, though anytime you hear about a hitter hurting his side on a swing you have to worry about obliques, which can take a while. But no point in speculating on that.
If Laureano has to miss time, then Mark Canha tends to be the one who slides over to CF. There could also be extra opportunity for Rule 5 draft pick Ka’ai Tom, who returned to action Monday from his own oblique injury and will be looking for outfield at-bats; it’s not yet clear if he can play CF but some scouting reports suggest he can. Reed was never a serious candidate for the Opening Day roster despite his breakout spring, but he’s built up a ton of momentum this month and is part of the larger depth chart.
Fiers long shot
Still waiting for new updates on starting pitcher Mike Fiers, who is currently shut down due to hip inflammation and had an injection for it, but the latest word is that he’s a “long shot” to be ready for the beginning of the regular season, per Athletics Farm.
Murphy, Puk, Rosenthal debuts
Now for the good news! Some of the team’s best players are getting back on the field this week.
Wednesday brings spring debuts from two star pitchers: starter A.J. Puk, and closer Trevor Rosenthal, reports insider Martin Gallegos.
Puk is the A’s top prospect but missed all of 2020 to a shoulder injury, and he’s a candidate to break camp in the rotation if he can get enough innings to get his arm stretched out and ready. He’s expected to throw 2-3 innings in this start, adds Alex Coffey of The Athletic.
Thursday will feature another star debut, in catcher Sean Murphy. per Coffey. He had surgery for a collapsed lung during the offseason, but last weekend he ramped up to playing in simulated games and now he’s upgrading to the real thing. He’s cautiously expected to be ready for Opening Day.