Oakland A’s catcher Chris Herrmann underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, the team announced Saturday morning. The need for the operation was first reported on Wednesday, and it eventually took place on Friday.
According to the press release, the surgery “involved a chondroplasty procedure to Herrmann’s central trochlea of his right knee as well as cleaning up loose bodies in the knee.” He will be reevaluated in two weeks, and until then there’s not a specific timetable for his return.
In the meantime, for now it doesn’t look like the A’s will make any moves to replace Herrmann. The lefty hitter was expected to be the primary starting catcher, but the team still has veteran righties Nick Hundley and Josh Phegley to cover the position — the duo could see “a pretty even split” in playing time, reports insider Jane Lee. And while the A’s prefer top prospect Sean Murphy to get some more time in Triple-A to finish his development, manager Bob Melvin “wouldn’t have a problem” starting the year with him if it theoretically came down to it, via Lee.
If Oakland did have any interest in the open market, then the best available option just went off the board anyway. Martin Maldonado signed with the Royals on Saturday for a modest one-year, $2.5 million contract, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. He’ll replace the injured Salvador Perez in Kansas City; as it happens, Maldonado is the only backstop to beat out Perez for the AL Gold Glove in the last six seasons (he won in ‘17).
Hot takes: When we talked about this a few days ago, my immediate reaction was for the A’s to stand pat, roll with their two remaining veterans, and hope Murphy arrives sooner than later (and/or that Herrmann isn’t out too long himself). That sounds like exactly what’s going to happen. I’m not sure that Hundley/Phegley is any worse than the Lucroy/Phegley combo that Oakland succeeded with last summer, and it should only improve as the year goes on and the reinforcements arrive. Melvin’s comments about Murphy (quoted above) only encourage me that the 24-year-old prospect isn’t far away from getting here.
The outfielder is out with a sprained knee, but he now has a timetable for return: He’ll likely miss a month from the time the injury occurred, reports Julian McWilliams of The Athletic. He hurt himself on Feb. 26, so that would put him back on the field right around the U.S. home opener at the end of March. For now he’s at least doing cardio and pool work, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle.
Martini was not likely to make the Opening Day roster even if healthy, so this doesn’t necessarily affect the MLB lineup — though perhaps there would have been room on the 28-man version for the two Japan games. But Martini is excellent depth and could easily find his way back up to Oakland this year, so it’s nice to hear that he’ll be playing again soon, even if he’ll presumably need some time to get up to full speed after missing most of spring training.
The slugger made his Cactus League debut on Friday, after missing the beginning of spring to a minor calf injury. He went 0-for-2 with a strikeout, but the point is he was back in the lineup, and with a few exhibitions yet to go before the games start to count.
The starter had Tommy John surgery last March, but he’s well on the way to recovery. The right-hander is “up to 40-pitch bullpen sessions, fastball/changeups only,” via Slusser. He’s still targeting a midseason return, and to keep himself busy over the offseason he took up dancing, reports Martin Gallegos of the Mercury News.
Best of luck to all the injured A’s in their recoveries!