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A’s place Trevor Rosenthal and Mike Fiers on injured list to begin 2021

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Two pitchers will be held back entering Opening Day

2021 Oakland Athletics Photo Day
Rosenthal
Photo by Robert Beck/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Oakland A’s made it through spring training without any major health catastrophes, but two players will begin the 2021 season on the injured list.

The A’s placed starter Mike Fiers and closer Trevor Rosenthal on the 10-day IL, the team announced Thursday morning.

The move for Fiers was expected, as he didn’t appear in any Cactus League games due to right hip inflammation, which is now officially listed as a lumbar strain. He’s on the mend and faced live batters in a simulated game Wednesday, but will need more time to warm up for full regular season duty after missing the spring. This move is retroactive to March 29, and he could be back sometime in April.

However, Rosenthal is a surprise. The new star reliever did have a brief setback last month, but it was due to a slight groin strain, and he recovered from that to play in some spring games with nothing appearing to be amiss in his performance. He is listed on the IL retroactive to March 30 due to right shoulder inflammation.

Update: Manager Bob Melvin referred to Rosenthal’s issue as “right shoulder fatigue ... It just wasn’t bouncing back for him very well after his outings,” and there’s not yet a timetable for his return, reports Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle. He’s received treatment but not an MRI, adds Kawahara.

To replace the two veterans, a pair of new pitchers made the Opening Day roster. Lefty Cole Irvin gets the fifth starter spot, after a brilliant spring that included dominating the Dodgers lineup that he might be facing in his first regular season outing — the A’s play their fifth game of the year against Los Angeles. The 27-year-old was acquired over the winter from the Phillies, where he’d put in 45 innings in the majors with shaky results.

Irvin, spring: 1.00 ERA, 18 ip, 18 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HR, 10 hits

In the bullpen, another southpaw joins the crew. Reymin Guduan signed as a minor league free agent and came to spring camp as a non-roster invitee, and seized that opportunity to earn his way back to the bigs for the first time since 2019 with the Astros. His profile includes strong velocity and a good slider, but questionable control and command. In two dozen MLB innings he has an 8.03 ERA and 5.64 FIP, but he was nearly flawless in the Cactus League this spring.

Guduan, spring: 0.96 ERA, 9⅓ ip, 5 Ks, 1 BB, 3 hits

With these updates, here’s the Opening Day pitching staff, with the precise orders still to be determined.

Starters

  1. RHP Chris Bassitt
  2. LHP Jesús Luzardo
  3. LHP Sean Manaea
  4. RHP Frankie Montas
  5. LHP Cole Irvin

Bullpen

  • LHP Jake Diekman
  • RHP Yusmeiro Petit
  • RHP Sergio Romo
  • LHP Adam Kolarek
  • RHP J.B. Wendelken
  • RHP Lou Trivino
  • RHP Burch Smith
  • LHP Reymin Guduan

Hot takes: Always fun to see an unexpected NRI make the team! Guduan is a third lefty in the pen for now, but if Diekman steps up to the closer role for Rosenthal then he won’t be available for any matchup duty, so effectively it’s still like having two lefties in Kolarek and Guduan. Irvin wasn’t my top guess for the fifth starter, but he wasn’t far behind and I’m excited to see what he can do.

As for the injuries themselves, it doesn’t sound like Fiers will be out long, and let’s wait for updates before panicking too hard about our new expensive closer Rosenthal.