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Spring Game #2: Another A’s win, but another injury too

Renato Nunez pulled a hammy, a tough blow for a prospect off to a great start this spring.

Renato Nunez goes down two days into a great spring performance.
Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

Renato Nunez arrived at spring training with something to prove and a roster spot to earn, and through the first two games of the Cactus League he was off to a great start. Unfortunately, he strained a hamstring during Saturday’s tilt and “could be out awhile,” reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. On the bright side and for what it’s worth, the A’s won the game 8-3 over the Padres.

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San Diego jumped out to an early lead against A’s starter Andrew Triggs, with a two-run homer by Franchy Cordero in the 1st inning. Triggs was able to record two outs in the 2nd before hitting his limit for the day, but minor league teammate Ben Bracewell allowed one inherited runner to score before escaping the frame. All told, three runs were charged to Triggs, but they were the only ones allowed by Oakland all day.

Meanwhile, the A’s got some early offense as well. Whereas the Padres’ third batter of the game had homered, it only took Oakland until their second batter of the day to get a dinger from Franklin Barreto. Then in the 2nd, the usually sluggish, free-swinging Nunez put together an eye-opening sequence when he walked, stole second, and scored on a hit by fellow prospect Sheldon Neuse. Later, in the 4th, Nunez once again walked and stole second, though this time he was stranded.

Oakland put together its next rally in the 5th inning, thanks to poor Padres defense. An error sent Boog Powell all the way to third, and Barreto knocked him in with a sac fly. A pair of singles and another San Diego error plated another run to give the A’s a 4-3 lead. Yet another botched grounder in the 6th helped Oakland score three more on just a pair of singles, a HBP, and a Slade Heathcott sac fly, and in the 7th they added one final tally with a double by catching prospect Beau Taylor and a single by outfield prospect Ramon Laureano.

On the pitching side, the A’s staff went the final seven innings without allowing a run. Jharel Cotton led the charge with two quick frames, striking out five of the seven batters he faced. Chris Hatcher, Blake Treinen, Danny Coulombe, Chris Bassitt, and Simon Castro each chipped in an inning as well, totaling seven Ks, three walks, and one hit between them.

Nunez injury

The pulled hammy is a tough blow for Renato Nunez, a prospect who was starting strong in a make-or-break spring with the team. We’ll know more about the severity in the next couple days, but such injuries often take at least a couple weeks to fully recover from.

Nunez is out of minor league options and doesn’t have an obvious fit on the roster, but he came to camp in noticeably better shape and had reached base in all four plate appearances so far (2-for-2 in Friday’s opener). Missing multiple weeks would cost him a lot of valuable audition time, though Melissa Lockard has an optimistic take to offer.

After seeing catcher Bruce Maxwell exit Friday’s game due to a knock on the noggin, the A’s have now suffered an injury in both spring games so far. Maxwell turned out to be fine, but let’s hope the streak doesn’t continue tomorrow with any more health problems arising. (Well, it already kind of did, as pitcher Daniel Gossett has been scratched from Sunday with back tightness.)

Key lines

A few notable performances in the box score:

  • Triggs: 1⅔ ip, 3 runs, 2 Ks, 1 BB, 1 HR, 3 hits
  • Cotton: 2 ip, 0 runs, 5 Ks, 1 BB, 0 hits
  • Bassitt: 1 ip, 0 runs, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 hits
  • Barreto: 1-for-2, HR, sac fly, 2 RBI
  • Nunez: 2 BB, 2 SB, run
  • Laureano: 1-for-1, HBP, RBI, run
  • Nick Martini: 1-for-1, BB, run

The A’s play again on Sunday, against the Royals at noon. Oakland will start A.J. Puk on the mound, and Dustin Fowler in CF. Full lineup here.