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Oakland A’s call up Dustin Fowler, place Trevor Cahill on disabled list

The A’s top outfield prospect is headed up.

The Dustin Fowler Era begins.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s placed starter Trevor Cahill on the disabled list on Wednesday, the team announced. To replace him on the roster, they called up top outfield prospect Dustin Fowler from Triple-A Nashville.

The diagnosis for Cahill is an elbow impingement. The elbow “barked a little in [his] last start,” says John Shea of the S.F. Chronicle. However, Cahill underwent an MRI that came back clean, reports Melissa Lockard of The Athletic. He’s currently expected to miss the minimum 10 days on a precautionary DL trip, via insider Jane Lee. Cahill is coming off his best performance of the year in his last start, in which he struck out 12 Orioles in six scoreless innings.

Cahill, 2018: 2.25 ERA, 24 ip, 31 Ks, 6 BB, 2 HR, 2.41 FIP

Given Cahill’s strong performance so far, this is a blow to the A’s rotation right as the team prepares for a 10-game tour of the AL East’s most intimidating opponents and ballparks. His next turn would have been Friday against the Yankees, and the A’s will call someone up to replace him rather than rolling with anyone currently on the squad, reports Lockard. That means the most likely options are probably:

  • Daniel Gossett, who has dominated Triple-A in five games since his demotion, and is scheduled to start for Nashville on Thursday
  • Kendall Graveman, who tossed a quality start his last time out for the Sounds and is already scheduled for Friday in Nashville

In happier news, Fowler is finally getting the call to Oakland. The top prospect was acquired last July in the Sonny Gray trade, and he ranked No. 4 on our preseason Community Prospect List. He missed much of 2017 to a knee injury incurred before the trade, so he began 2018 in Triple-A to get his legs back under him. After a briefly slow start to the year, he got hot over the last 14 games, posting a 1.075 OPS with 11 of his 23 hits going for extra bases.

Fowler, 2018 AAA: .310/.333/.484, 108 wRC+, 3 HR, 8 SB, 3.8% BB, 16.7% Ks

Among his most encouraging stats, Fowler ranked third in the Pacific Coast League with 8 stolen bases in 10 tries, and he also legged out three triples. His speed had been one of his better tools before the major knee bangup, so hopefully that’s a sign that he recovered that part of his game.

Fowler isn’t in the lineup for Wednesday’s afternoon game, though he is available off the bench, reports Lee. She goes on to note that he’s most likely to make his first start on Friday in New York ... against none other than Sonny, the very pitcher he was traded for. Fowler has already technically made his MLB debut, the day he was injured last June, but he’s still looking forward to his first big league plate appearance.

The A’s makeshift outfield has finally shown some cracks lately, making it a prime time for Fowler to get some reps. Mark Canha is 2-for-20 after his sizzling start to the season, and Jake Smolinski has been a zero at the plate in a backup role. Stephen Piscotty has struggled on both sides of the ball and is now dealing with the passing of his mother, which will lead to time on the bereavement list from Friday through Monday, reports Shea. Matt Joyce is drawing walks but doing nothing else, with a .187 average and little power.

We’ll see if this turns out to be a cup of coffee for Fowler, especially with Piscotty due to miss some time coming up, or if he can play his way into a regular role. One way or other, he was definitely ready for a look.

Feel better, Trevor! Welcome, Dustin!