The Oakland A’s have already suffered their first new injury of the spring, as outfielder Nick Martini hurt himself in Tuesday’s game. Here’s a closer look, as well as some updates on other health issues around the team.
The outfielder has a right knee sprain and will miss a couple weeks, reports Julian McWilliams of The Athletic. Martini incurred the injury on Tuesday, when he tripped over his shoelaces while chasing a foul ball in LF. He face-planted into the wall in foul territory, leading initially to concern about his back and neck, but it turns out his lower body took the brunt of the punishment.
The A’s only have two more weeks of Cactus League games before they head to Japan for their season opener, and when they get back they only play the three Bay Bridge exhibitions before the regular season begins in full. While Martini’s injury isn’t currently considered serious, the timing of it makes him an extreme long-shot for the Opening Day roster, notes Martin Gallegos of the East Bay Times.
Analysis: In the great Grossman/Martini/Canha debates of the last couple weeks, I kept mentioning that spring injuries could help clear up the crowded roster. It only took a couple days for that to come true. Obviously I’d rather have been wrong if it meant no one got hurt, but injuries are an inevitability in sports so something like this was always likely. Fortunately the A’s planned ahead and built depth in this area with the addition of Grossman, so Martini was already probably ticketed to Triple-A for now anyway.
The star slugger is dealing with a minor calf strain to start the spring, reports insider Jane Lee. He’s getting in some swings in minor league camp, but there’s no specific timetable for when he’ll play in the Cactus League, says Lee.
Analysis: Nothing to worry about here. Chalk this up to an established veteran getting warmed up at his own speed, with no reason to push a minor muscle tweak before the calendar has even flipped to March.
The star 3B had two surgeries over the offseason, one for his right thumb and the other for his left shoulder. He was slow to get going this spring while he finished his recovery, but he made his Cactus League debut on Wednesday as the DH. He is now “100 percent ready to go,” reports McWilliams, who adds that Chapman will play again on Friday.
The top prospect missed the last two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery, so his return to the mound is highly anticipated. However, his spring began with yet another setback, this time regarding his lat muscle. Fortunately, he doesn’t think it’s major (Slusser), and last week he reported having “zero issues now” and that he hopes to “resume throwing soon” (Slusser).
Kaprielian isn’t part of the Opening Day plans, but he’s on the 40-man roster so he’s worth keeping a close eye on. He’s also a notable name even in the minors, as he made the Top 10 of our Community Prospect List this winter.
The lefty starter is already on the 60-day injured list following shoulder surgery last September, so one way or other he’s going to miss a significant portion of the season. The question is whether he’ll miss all of it, or return sometimes this summer. For what it’s worth, though, Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle reported last week: “Sean Manaea is continuing to play catch as he begins his throwing program. Well ahead of where initially projected after shoulder injury diagnosed last year.”
Other rotation notes: On the topic of the 60-day IL, fellow starting pitcher Daniel Gossett is also there while he recovers from Tommy John surgery last August. Meanwhile, fellow TJS cases Jharel Cotton and A.J. Puk have begun throwing off the mound at full distance (see video below), though they’re still “a few months” away from MLB action according to Slusser a couple weeks ago.
What a nice sight to see, Jharel Cotton and AJ Puk throwing off the mound with everyone else: pic.twitter.com/YscZd9rkfU— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) February 12, 2019
Best of luck to all the injured A’s in their recoveries!