The Oakland A’s got a couple updates on key player injuries Thursday, and the results brought good news and bad news.
Two outfielders went in for MRIs this week on muscle pulls they coincidentally both suffered while taking swings in the batting cage. Ramon Laureano, who felt left side soreness, is OK and could be playing in games early next week, reports Shayna Rubin of the Mercury News.
However, the prognosis wasn’t as encouraging for Buddy Reed, who got checked out for a right quad strain. “Buddy’s gonna be out for a while,” said manager Bob Melvin, per Rickey Blog on Twitter.
The Reed development doesn’t affect the MLB Opening Day roster, as he was extremely unlikely to force his way to the majors yet despite a spectacular spring. However, his absence makes the rest of the Cactus League a bit less fun without his daily heroics, and it’s a bummer for an exciting prospect who was building the biggest momentum of his career to date. The Triple-A season doesn’t begin until early May.
With Laureano and Reed out lately, there’s been plenty of playing time in the outfield for Rule 5 draft pick Ka’ai Tom, who is fully back in action from his own oblique injury. He’s played three of the last four days and is 5-for-10 with a homer and a double, as he vies for an Opening Day roster spot.
Fiers playing catch
Starting pitcher Mike Fiers is a longshot to be ready for the beginning of the regular season due to hip inflammation, but at least he’s making progress. Per Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle:
Mike Fiers will resume playing catch [Thursday], Bob Melvin said. Melvin also said the A’s have time to stretch AJ Puk out enough to open the season in the rotation if needed.
There are still a few candidates to take the fifth rotation spot if Fiers needs some extra time, and one is top prospect A.J. Puk, who made his first game appearance in over a year this week. His velocity was down a few ticks from his past norm, but he was still effective in retiring batters. Melvin’s comment doesn’t necessarily mean Puk has won the job already, but it sounds like he won’t be held back strictly for workload reasons.
Also returning to the mound on Wednesday was closer Trevor Rosenthal, who appears to be recovered from the slight groin strain that had set him back for a few days. He felt good during his outing.
Murphy proclaims readiness
Catcher Sean Murphy made his spring debut Thursday, after offseason surgery for a collapsed lung. He took four plate appearances (reached once via walk) and caught five innings on defense, and after the game he didn’t mince words about how he felt, per Kawahara:
“I see nothing standing in the way of me getting ready for opening day.”
Summing up the injury report:
- OF Buddy Reed: out for a while (quad)
- RHP Mike Fiers: longshot for opener, but playing catch (hip)
- OF Ramon Laureano: should return next week (side)
- LHP A.J. Puk: Back in action! (shoulder)
- RHP Trevor Rosenthal: Back in action! (groin)
- C Sean Murphy: Back in action! (lung)
- OF Ka’ai Tom: Back in action! (oblique)
Stay tuned for more updates in the coming days!