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Oakland A’s LHP Sean Manaea leaves start in 4th inning with minor back injury

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Oakland A’s pitcher Sean Manaea left his Monday start against the Astros in the 4th inning. The initial diagnosis is a sore back, according to John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group.

(Update: Hickey later corrected to left rhomboid, for what it’s worth.)

Fortunately, the initial report from Hickey doesn’t mention any trouble with Manaea’s arm. Let’s hope it stays that way! (Though, of course, anyone who’s ever had a back injury knows that those aren’t anything to mess around with either!) Hickey goes on to report that Manaea’s status is up in the air for his next start.

Manaea needed 36 pitches to get through the 2nd inning, thanks in part to a pair of errors by third baseman Ryon Healy that extended the frame. Later, with one out in the 4th, he threw a strike to Marwin Gonzalez before receiving a visit from manager Bob Melvin and trainer Nick Paparesta. Manaea was then pulled and replaced by right-handed veteran Chris Smith.

Making matters worse, Manaea’s velocity was noticeably down before his departure. He usually operates around 91-95 mph with his fastball, but he dropped down below 90 in the 3rd inning and threw one at 87 to his final batter. Last time his velocity dipped like this he hit the DL in mid-June with a left pronator strain (forearm muscle), though on the bright side he returned quickly from that injury and only missed a couple starts. (h/t King Richard in the Game Thread for noticing the velocity.)

The Oakland A’s starting rotation was finally getting settled in late August, for the first time all year, so it’s a bummer to see yet another top pitcher go down. Hopefully this will indeed be a quick day-to-day non-arm injury that doesn’t require a DL stint.

We’ll have more info as it becomes available.