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Elephant Rumblings: Chad Pinder might be back from injury before postseason

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Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

The Oakland A’s are going through the rest of 2020 without their best player, third baseman Matt Chapman, but they might get another familiar face back sooner than expected.

Super-sub Chad Pinder went on the injured list with a strained hamstring on Sept. 13, and at the time it was supposed to end his regular season, with the chance of returning to action during the playoffs. However, the strain turned out to be minor (Grade 1, the lowest version) and he is progressing well enough to upgrade that timeline.

Pinder now has a chance to return before the end of the regular season, first reported by John Hickey of Sports Illustrated on Sunday. As of Tuesday, that possibility had evolved into an outright expectation that he’ll return before the postseason, per insider Martin Gallegos. He is “hopeful of playing in [the] Seattle series this weekend,” says Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. For more details, here’s a full writeup from Hickey on Tuesday.

The loss of Pinder had been particularly ill-timed, as he made the most sense to take over for Chapman at third base but then went on the IL himself the very next day after Chapman did. Fortunately, Oakland made an emergency signing of former All-Star 3B Jake Lamb, and the new guy has exploded at the plate over the last week to help fill Chappy’s sizable shoes.

Pinder had trouble finding playing time amid the A’s crowded roster all year and now he might find himself in that same frustrating situation (blocked by Lamb), but that doesn’t take away the importance of getting back as many healthy hands as possible. Depth is still crucial as October approaches — more players can still get hurt this week, or a hot streak like Lamb’s could cool off as quickly as it appeared (though there’s every reason to believe he’s truly a good hitter).

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This has nothing to do with baseball, but Paul Rudd is famously a big baseball fan (of the Royals, nobody’s perfect), and this video is guaranteed to make you smile this morning and also the person sharing it is a pro athlete named Chapman so that’s probably a sign.