Oakland A's first baseman Ike Davis will miss the rest of the 2015 season due to a torn labrum in his hip that will require surgery, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Davis hit the DL on Wednesday, at which time the injury had been deemed a strained hip, but an MRI revealed the full extent of the damage.
The obvious replacement for Davis at first base is Mark Canha, who has started the team's last eight games anyway (seven of them at 1B). Canha has responded to that opportunity with a batting line of .424/.472/.636 (1.109 OPS) with one homer, three walks and only five strikeouts in 36 plate appearances. Joe Stiglich of CSN mentions that Stephen Vogt and even Jake Smolinski could get time at 1B, noting that Jake "says he's got some learning to do, but eager for it." Canha is starting at 1B tonight (Fri.) against Tampa Bay Rays lefty Drew Smyly
Davis got off to a good start in 2015, with a .775 OPS in his first 32 games, and it looked like he might be having the solid bounce-back season the A's had hoped for from him. However, he strained his left quad in mid-May and missed 33 games, and he hasn't been the same since his return:
Ike, May 13 (32 gms): .282/.348/.427, 2 HR, 11 BB, 16 Ks
Ike, since (40 gms): .180/.258/.279, 1 HR, 12 BB, 28 Ks
Slusser reports that this current hip problem is something that had been lingering for "some time" and even worsening, so it doesn't take a big stretch of the imagination to deduce that his second-half slump could be injury-related. This unfortunate revelation makes a tough decision easier for the A's, as they no longer have to choose between the struggling veteran and the hot rookie (Canha) at first base. Still, it's always a bummer to see any athlete get hurt (much less require surgery), and Ike remained popular among many fans despite his declining numbers.
Ike has one more year of team control remaining, though it might cost up to $5 million in arbitration to retain him. If he is non-tendered at year's end, he could sign elsewhere or even re-sign with the A's if they want to try to bring him back at a lower salary. In addition to Canha, Vogt, and Smolinski, the A's also have Max Muncy and Rangel Ravelo at Triple-A as 1B possibilities. Billy Butler could also ... lol just kidding (hopefully).
Ike's 2015 stats: .229/.301/.350, 81 OPS+, in 239 PAs
Ike's 2015 stats (cont'd): 3 HR, 23 BB, 44 Ks, -0.5 bWAR, -0.3 fWAR
Ike 2015 (pitching): 0.00 ERA, 2 innings, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 hit, 0.1 bWAR
Thanks for doing your best this year, Ike. You're a good egg, and wherever you play next year (whether here or elsewhere) I wish you the best from all of Athletics Nation.
Doolittle nearing return
Closer Sean Doolittle could be activated from the 60-day disabled list soon, says Slusser. In fact, Jane Lee of MLB.com hints that Doolittle might not even need another rehab outing before returning, though that is not a guarantee.
The lefty has made five appearances on his current rehab assignment from a year-long shoulder injury. He threw a scoreless inning for the High-A Stockton Ports on Aug. 7, and he's now pitched four times for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds (one inning each). He allowed a solo homer in his first game with the Sounds, but in his last three outings he retired all nine batters he faced on seven strikeouts and a pair of flyouts. And unlike last time, Doolittle looks "like the old Sean Doolittle," via Lee, with reports from many sources citing his velocity getting up to 93 mph (he was struggling to hit 90 when he came back in May).
Someone will have to be removed from the 40-man roster to make room when Doolittle returns, and I nominate expendable reliever Angel Castro. But then, someone needs to be removed from the 25-man roster as well if this happens before Sept. 1, in which case I nominate Edward Mujica. No offense, fellas.
Doolittle has appeared in one MLB game this year. On May 27, he threw a scoreless inning against the Tigers, striking out two and allowing a hit. He was an All-Star in 2014, with a 2.73 ERA, nearly 13 strikeouts per nine innings, and over 11 strikeouts per walk. When healthy, he is the A's closer, and he's really good at it.
The A's activated utilityman Tyler Ladendorf from the 60-day disabled list on Friday and optioned him to Triple-A Nashville. This was an expected move, as Ladendorf had already been rehabbing from ankle surgery in Nashville and so now he is just officially active instead of on rehab. No corresponding roster moves were necessary -- there was already a spot open on the 40-man roster, and he wasn't added to the 25-man.
Ladendorf is a right-handed hitter who can play virtually anywhere on the field, and he has played 2B, SS, 3B, LF, CF, and RF in his pro career. He got a cup of coffee in Oakland to start the year, during which he played four of those positions in the span of four games while going 2-for-10 with a triple at the plate. Given that he was already part of the MLB picture entering the year, there is every reason to expect that he'll get another look in Oakland before the end of the season. To read more on Ladendorf, check out my latest prospect update from last night.
Parker & Griffin updates
The tweets pretty much say it all for these two guys.
Melvin reiterates what Jarrod Parker told me the other day, that he could be playing catch soon.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 21, 2015
Melvin says A.J. Griffin is continuing to strengthen his shoulder. Sounds unlikely he pitches again this season.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) August 21, 2015
I'd call the Parker news encouraging. As for Griffin, I mean, is there any reason to rush him back? May as well let him take his time to get back to wherever he needs to be.
Chapman's season, year aren't over
Oakland's two most exciting hitters at High-A Stockton, shortstop Franklin Barreto and third baseman Matt Chapman, are both out with wrist injuries. Fortunately, it sounds like we'll see Chapman again this season:
Hearing 3B Matt Chapman will represent #Athletics in AZ Fall League. Getting closer to returning from a wrist injury w/Stockton— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) August 21, 2015
That's particularly good news because Chapman, Oakland's 2014 first-round draft pick, is in the middle of a mammoth breakout year. The 22-year-old has clubbed 23 homers in 77 games for a .587 slugging percentage, and his 149 wRC+ ranks seventh among all California League hitters (min. 250 PA). He also started the campaign late due to a knee injury that cost him all of April.
The Ports have 17 games left in their regular season. As for their postseason chances, that's still up in the air. There are three berths given in their five-team division -- 1st-half champ, 2nd-half champ, and a wild card (next-best record). Visalia won the first half and is leading the second half, while Stockton, San Jose and Modesto are all tied for the next-best overall record. If Visalia holds on to the second-half crown, then the next two best records both get wild cards. All we can say for sure is that Bakersfield is the worst, but we didn't need baseball standings to tell us that. (They're in last place and nearly mathematically eliminated.)
It's also nice to see that Chapman will continue his 2015 year by playing in the AFL after Stockton's season ends, given that he's missed a lot of time.
Making the tough Choice
Welp, looks like the Craig Gentry trade didn't work out for anyone.
Rangers trade OF Michael Choice to Indians— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) August 21, 2015
Chris Bostick has a .612 OPS for the Nationals' Double-A team, if you were curious, and Josh Lindblom is pitching (reasonably well) in Korea. (The Rangers got cash from the Indians in the deal.)