The Oakland A’s placed catcher Nick Hundley on the injured list on Saturday, the team announced. To replace him, fellow catcher Beau Taylor was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas. There was an open spot on the 40-man roster, so no corresponding move was needed in that regard.
The injury to Hundley occurred during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Texas Rangers. While he was batting in the 4th inning, he swung at a pitch and then dropped to his knee. He immediately exited the game in the middle of that at-bat, and was later diagnosed with a back spasm. Josh Phegley came in and took over for the rest of the game.
With the A’s set to play another game later this evening, the team made an emergency move to add a new catcher for the nightcap. Taylor made his MLB debut last year at age 28, after being drafted by the club in 2011 and spending eight seasons in the minors, and he notched his first hit at the end of September. In Triple-A this year, he has continued to show his customarily excellent plate discipline.
Taylor, 2019 AAA: .297/.450/.492, 141 wRC+, 5 HR, 21.9% BB, 25.2% Ks
That’s an absolutely absurd walk rate (15.4% for his Triple-A career), and it helps him get on base to make up for his lack of power. That said, he’s actually showing career-best thump so far this year too, with the caveat that he’s 29 in Triple-A in a suddenly hitter-friendly environment after spending the last half-decade in pitcher’s parks. He also bats left-handed, which is something the A’s lack in a lineup full of mostly righties.
For his part, the 35-year-old Hundley had been struggling all season. He hit a couple homers in mid-May, offering hope of a resurgence, but since then he went 0-for-11. His seven double plays lead the team, in only 73 plate appearances.
Hundley, 2019: .200/.233/.357, 55 wRC+, 2 HR, 2.7% BB, 24.7% Ks
Phegley will start Saturday’s second game behind the plate, and Taylor will arrive at some point (either before or during) and be available off the bench.