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Matt Chapman leaves Sunday game early with hip injury

The star third baseman will have an MRI.

San Diego Padres v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s are finally getting a couple serious bites from the injury bug.

On Sunday, third baseman Matt Chapman exited the game early in the 5th inning. He was later diagnosed with a right hip strain and will go for an MRI to reveal the extent of the injury, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle.

The All-Star’s hip had been issue “on and off during the season” but flared up on a play in the 4th inning, explains insider Martin Gallegos. On that play, Chapman had to cover some distance and then make a dazzling spin move to throw to first base.

Chapman was already having trouble at the plate since the team returned from its recent coronavirus hiatus. In the three games against the San Diego Padres, he struck out 10 times in 11 plate appearances, including five on Saturday alone — the Platinum Sombrero. It was only the sixth time in Oakland history that a hitter went 0-for-5 with five Ks, though to be fair its a list of mostly stars.

However, manager Bob Melvin does not believe the hip had anything to do with Chapman’s recent mini-slump, via Slusser.

The A’s were already dealing with a costly injury on the left side of their infield, as shortstop Marcus Semien missed the entire Padres series with soreness in his side. The third-place MVP finisher isn’t expected to need a trip to the injured list, and the Sunday telecast mentioned that he’s hopeful to return sometime this week against the Houston Astros, but until he does the A’s will be without arguably the best SS/3B combo in the majors.

In the meantime, Chad Pinder got the call to replace Chapman at third on Sunday. He hasn’t put up much in the way of numbers in his extremely limited duty this season, but he’s consistently hit the ball hard and holds the second-highest exit velocity on the team. On defense, the hot corner might be his best infield position, and he does offer some skill there even if no one can fully replace the Platinum Glover Chapman.

While Semien has been out, rookie Vimael Machin has been covering at shortstop, but once the former returns then perhaps Machin could help out at third base too. Or, if Chapman needs to go in the IL, there could be room to bring up prospect Sheldon Neuse for a tryout — he’s MLB-ready and could be a plus on both sides of the ball.

Of course, the best-case scenario would be that Chapman turns out to be fine and good to go in a few days at most, and ditto for Semien. Hoping for good health for both players!