The Oakland A’s announced several roster moves on Wednesday. Outfielder Ramon Laureano and catcher Josh Phegley were each placed on the 10-day injured list, and to replace them, outfielder Nick Martini and catcher Beau Taylor were recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas.
In addition, pitcher Andrew Triggs was designated for assignment to make room for new trade acquisition Tanner Roark, though another transaction will eventually need to be made to clear a spot for Roark on the 25-man squad.
And finally, reliever Brian Schlitter, who was DFA’d on Monday, remains in the organization. He cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A.
The diagnosis for Laureano is a stress reaction in his lower right leg. There isn’t yet a precise timetable for his return, but manager Bob Melvin said “he’s not going to be back in 10 days,” via Ben Ross of NBCS. The current estimate from the doctors is four weeks, reports insider Martin Gallegos.
The loss of Laureano is a big blow to the lineup, as he was one of the hottest hitters on the team. He was batting .392 this month, which is the highest average ever for an Oakland player in July, to go along with a 1.281 OPS (and 222 wRC+). More than half of his hits in July went for extra-bases, including eight homers and nine doubles. For the season, he’s fourth on the team in wRC+, third in dingers, and first in steals with 12 in 14 tries.
Laureano, 2019: .284/.334/.518, 124 wRC+, 21 HR, 5.3% BB, 27.0% BB
According to Laureano, via Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle, the “shin stress reaction started in Japan because of the turf.” He also noted that “the injury made it difficult to stop,” but didn’t blame any defensive miscues on it.
In the meantime, Martini takes Laureano’s place on the roster — though not necessarily in the lineup, where Mark Canha figures to slide over into Ramon’s starting CF role. Martini had an unexpectedly excellent showing as a rookie last summer, but between a spring injury and then a logjam in Oakland’s outfield he had to wait until late July to make his 2019 debut. When he did, a week ago Monday, he went 0-for-2 at the plate and then was called on to pitch the final inning of a blowout loss.
Down in Triple-A, Martini kept warm by posting exactly the kind of massive OBP he’s known for. His .435 mark ranks seventh among all Triple-A hitters in both leagues (minimum 200 plate appearances). His overall line looks like this in 283 PAs:
Martini, AAA: .332/.435/.460, 126 wRC+, 5 HR, 14.8% BB, 16.3% Ks
However, his stint in Oakland might be short-lived. Right fielder Stephen Piscotty, who’s on the IL with a sprained knee, began his own rehab assignment on Saturday and is already hitting well in Triple-A (5-for-15, HR, 3 Ks). It’s not known exactly how much longer he’ll need, but clearly he’s getting close.
Another near-future option down on the farm is Skye Bolt, who made his MLB debut earlier this season and carries a strong stat line in Vegas. He has more experience in CF than Canha does and might be a better long-term fit at that position while Laureano is out. Bolt is also on the IL right now with a minor wrist injury, but he’s considered day-to-day and is already taking batting practice, note Slusser as well as Melissa Lockard of The Athletic.
As for Phegley, the diagnosis is a left thumb contusion. He exited Sunday’s game in the fifth inning due to the injury, and now he’ll sit out for a bit longer while it heals — after all, a catcher’s left hand and digits take an obvious pounding from their work receiving pitches. Phegley has cooled off from his hot start to the season, batting .146 with a .401 OPS in 14 games this month (3 wRC+), but he’s still having a solid year overall.
Phegley, 2019: .243/.283/.427, 86 wRC+, 10 HR, 3.9% BB, 16.2% Ks
While he’s out, Taylor returns for another stint in Oakland. He’s played well in his limited MLB action this year, going 4-for-19 with two homers, four walks, and a strong .375 OBP. Much like with Martini, that on-base ability is his calling card, and he’s put up a huge OBP in Triple-A this year.
Taylor, AAA: .274/.430/.482, 129 wRC+, 7 HR, 20.6% BB, 28.5% Ks
The left-handed hitter will pair with fellow lefty catcher Chris Herrmann in Oakland while Phegley is out.
Unfortunately, there’s more bad news on the catching front. Top prospect Sean Murphy, who recently returned to action from a torn meniscus in his knee, left Las Vegas’ game on Tuesday after reinjuring the same knee. From the official MiLB recap: “After smashing a two-run double ... [he] was removed for a pinch runner and gingerly walked off the field. After the game, Aviators manager Fran Riordan said Murphy came up lame while running the bases on the double, adding that ‘we’ll find out more’ about the extent of the injury Wednesday after Murphy undergoes tests.”
Regarding the other moves, Triggs last pitched in the majors in May 2018, and he last pitched in the minors on April 10 of this year before going back on the IL. He had thoracic outlet surgery last September. When healthy he’s an effective swingman, but he hasn’t been healthy in a long time.
As for Schlitter, he was signed as a minor league free agent over the offseason. The right-hander held his own in six games of mopup duty in Oakland before being DFA’d to make room for new bullpen acquisition Jake Diekman.
The 25-man roster now looks like this, pending the addition of Roark.
Mike Fiers (R)
Brett Anderson (L)
Homer Bailey (R)
Chris Bassitt (R)
Daniel Mengden (R)
--Tanner Roark (R)
Liam Hendriks (R)
Yusmeiro Petit (R)
Jake Diekman (L)
Joakim Soria (R)
Blake Treinen (R)
Lou Trivino (R)
Ryan Buchter (L)
Wei-Chung Wang (L)
Chris Herrmann (L)
Beau Taylor (L)
Matt Olson (L)
Jurickson Profar (S)
Marcus Semien (R)
Matt Chapman (R)
Franklin Barreto (R)
Khris Davis (R)
Mark Canha (R)
Robbie Grossman (S)
Chad Pinder (R)
Nick Martini (L)
10-day IL: C Josh Phegley (thumb), OF Ramon Laureano (shin), OF Stephen Piscotty (knee)
60-day IL: RHP Marco Estrada (back), RHP Daniel Gossett (TJS), LHP Sean Manaea (shoulder)