Brandon Moss hit his first career grand slam on Friday against the Angels, but he exited the game in the third inning. The diagnosis was tightness in his calf, according to Jane Lee.
Moss, for his part, doesn't seem too worried, via Lee:
"I figured if I can't get the cramp out, I should probably get it taken care of. You never know. Hopefully it's just a bad cramp or something, nothing more than that."
The A's were leading 7-0 when Moss was pulled and they went on to win 9-5, so losing Moss was inconsequential to the contest. Besides, he'd already done his damage. As for his future outlook:
Moss hopes it's just a cramp thing with his calf. Melvin says he's probably doubtful for tomorrow.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) May 31, 2014
The Angels are throwing left-hander Tyler Skaggs on Saturday. Therefore, it makes even more sense to sit Moss and let Kyle Blanks take some hacks. With a little muscle tweak like this, the smart move is to nip it in the bud right away and let it rest up and heal, rather than let it linger all year long, sap future performance, and potentially turn into a bigger injury.
The A's can ill-afford to lose Moss's bat from the lineup for an extended period of time. The lefty is batting .276/.366/.568 with 13 home runs, and he ranks fourth in the AL with 46 RBI. I don't normally cite RBI, but we here at Athletics Nation love to complain about our team's perceived inability to drive in baserunners, so it's nice to point out when one of our guys is among the league leaders in doing so. Moss has a 160 wRC+, which ranks 13th in all of baseball. To put that in context, he's below Josh Donaldson (10th) and Edwin Encarnacion (12th), and ahead of Mike Trout (14th), Freddie Freeman (15th), and Miguel Cabrera (16th). (If you're wondering who I left out at No. 11, it's Michael Morse.)
Of course, if you close your eyes and ignore things like small sample sizes and reality, then you will be comforted by the fact that Blanks carries a 163 wRC+ in his time in Oakland so far -- even better than Moss! Of course, he's 5-for-16 (with one homer), and two of those hits didn't leave the infield, so obviously I'm being facetious by comparing the two hitters. Blanks is a downgrade from Moss. However, it's nice to see that he's stringing together some hits and isn't just getting completely dominated in every at-bat. I was particularly impressed by his at-bat in the eighth, when he drew a walk against right-hander Michael Kohn. Blanks laid off some close pitches that he could have easily chased and rolled to the shortstop. Instead, he forced Kohn to either come into the strike zone or give in and let him have first base. Kohn opted for the latter.
So, we probably won't see Moss on Saturday. However, it sounds like he shouldn't miss a lot of time, and as a consolation prize we get to see Blanks pick up a few PA's against a lefty. As usual, the roster will carry on seamlessly without missing a beat thanks to its depth of talent.