The Oakland A’s earned a dramatic comeback victory on Wednesday in ALDS Game 3 against the Houston Astros, keeping their season alive for at least another day. However, the win came with some pain attached.
Second baseman Tommy La Stella exited the game in the 8th inning after being hit by a pitch in the arm, on or near the right elbow. He stayed on the ground for over a minute before getting up, initially rejecting the trainer’s attempts to touch the arm. He eventually walked off and was replaced by a pinch-runner.
Fortunately, X-rays showed no fracture, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. La Stella was diagnosed with an elbow contusion.
La Stella has been a major factor for the A’s at the top of the lineup. After being acquired at the trade deadline in August, he got on base at a .369 clip the rest of the way for Oakland. In the playoffs so far, he’s 6-for-22 with two walks, a HBP, and a catcher’s interference, and he’s scored five of the club’s 28 runs. One of his hits was a solo homer in his first at-bat Wednesday, giving the A’s an early lead in what turned out to be a wild 9-7 affair.
If La Stella has to miss any time, then the A’s have several options to cover second base. They could turn to Tony Kemp, himself a former Astro, who played the position most of the year before La Stella arrived but has not appeared in the postseason so far. There’s also a right-handed alternative in Nate Orf, who pinch-ran when La Stella exited. Or, Chad Pinder could shift from third base to second, with Jake Lamb taking over at the hot corner.
The team will “wait and see how [La Stella] feels [Thursday]” before making any decisions for Game 4, reports insider Martin Gallegos. That implies there’s at least a chance that he could be OK and back in the lineup.
UPDATE (Thursday morning)
La Stella is in the lineup for Game 4 on Thursday!
Melvin says he’s a little surprised La Stella was OK to play today but the area hit was basically bone, so doesn’t swell much. “He’s a tough guy,” Melvin says.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) October 8, 2020