Starting pitcher Mike Fiers exited the Oakland A’s game in the 2nd inning on Saturday. The team announced a diagnosis of right arm nerve irritation.
Fiers started against the Rangers and breezed through the first five outs. However, as the 2nd inning progressed he could be seen shaking his arm occasionally. With a 1-1 count on Rougned Odor, manager Bob Melvin and the trainer came out to visit him in the middle of the at-bat. After a couple practice pitches, he stayed in the game, but two pitches later he left a fastball up in the zone that Odor hit out for a homer.
The next batter saw five straight 85-89 mph fastballs for a walk, and at that point Melvin and the trainer came out again to pull Fiers.
In the dugout after his departure, the broadcast showed him gesturing down his forearm and pointing to his thumb, index, and middle fingers. Here are some initial thoughts on the nature of the injury:
Nerve irritation, like many injury descriptions, can run the gamut from minor to majors. Brett Anderson was out briefly last year with left arm irritation; Andrew Triggs required surgery. The location/severity obviously make a difference and we know very little right now.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 15, 2019
UPDATE: Fiers’ hand “went numb” while pitching to Odor. More details from Susan Slusser:
Fiers says he’s had zingers in his arm before and tonight was similar but team didn’t want to take chances. He will get some tests Monday in the Bay Area but it’s possible he makes his next start.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 15, 2019
Quick take: Fiers is having one of the best seasons of his career and has been the team’s most reliable starter, and he’s a big part of their 2019 success. Losing him for any length of time would be a real bummer. However, the bright side is that there’s enough rotation depth right now to cover for him if he has to sit out. Here’s hoping he’s OK, because you never want to see any player get hurt, but if he’s not then the team has the personnel to get through it.
Melvin said Fiers might make his next start but also mentioned if not the A's already have a six man rotation, so could cover that absence "and," he said, "we still have Luzardo in our back pocket."— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 15, 2019