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A’s wrist injuries: Sean Murphy scratched Friday, Ramon Laureano exits game

Two early injuries, hopefully minor

MLB: Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

We’re only a couple days into the 2021 MLB season, and the Oakland A’s are already averaging one wrist injury per game.

Catcher Sean Murphy was a late scratch from Friday’s lineup due to a right wrist contusion, the team announced. It was incurred during Thursday’s Opening Night game, presumably when he was hit by a pitch in that area.

Fortunately, it doesn’t sound serious for now, and Murphy is day-to-day “[depending] on how he responds to treatment,” reports Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle. He’s not in the lineup Saturday, with Aramis Garcia starting behind the plate again in a day game after having just played the previous night game.

Meanwhile, CF Ramon Laureano exited Friday’s game with his own wrist injury. He attempted to slide headfirst into first base, but jammed his wrist when his hand hit the bag.

Like with Murphy, the prognosis for Laureano is encouraging. X-rays “showed nothing structural,” per Kawahara, though there’s not yet a precise timeline for his return, reports Alex Coffey of The Athletic. Mark Canha is starting in CF on Saturday, flanked by Chad Pinder and Stephen Piscotty. Laureano was the only A’s hitter with two extra-base hits through the first two games, including an RBI triple Friday, and also leads the team with two runs scored and their only stolen base.

Here’s the latest medical chart:

  • RHP Trevor Rosenthal, 10-day IL, shoulder (no timetable)
  • RHP Mike Fiers, 10-day IL, lumbar (hopeful April return)
  • OF Ramon Laureano, day-to-day, wrist (no timetable)
  • C Sean Murphy, day-to-day, wrist (any day now?)

In addition, RHP Frankie Montas, who was last seen exiting a spring game with a torn cuticle, is good to go and scheduled to start Monday against the Dodgers.

Analysis: All injuries are bummers, but wrist injuries to sluggers are on the short list of skill-specific problems, sort of like a pitcher’s elbow or a speedster’s knee. Hopefully these are just minor scares, and not anything that might have lingering effects. All reports so far suggest we don’t need to panic until further notice.

The biggest takeaway here is don’t slide into first base. That’s not a groundbreaking criticism, which is why it blows my mind that it’s still a thing. It’s been common knowledge for a long time (decades?) that these slides are an injury waiting to happen that give you no strategic advantage and are probably slower than just running through the bag.

We all love Laureano’s non-stop all-out intensity, and sometimes that brings flaws you have to live with. But this shouldn’t be one of them. When you dive haphazardly for fly balls, at least you might catch one sometimes. When you try to score on a shallow fly ball, sometimes you make it, as he did last night and as Jose Altuve did on an infield popup. But sliding into first base offers you nothing, pretty much ever, just pure, massive downside potential. Gotta learn to remove that particular piece from his game.