The Oakland A’s suffered a horrific injury Tuesday night, when pitcher Chris Bassitt was drilled in the face by a line drive. As expected, Bassitt went on the 10-day injured list Wednesday, for a right facial fracture.
To replace him on the active roster, the A’s called up pitcher Paul Blackburn from Triple-A Las Vegas. Blackburn was not on the 40-man roster, but there was already an open spot so no further corresponding moves were needed.
The right-handed Blackburn appeared in the majors for the A’s each year from 2017-20, totaling 21 games (18 of them starts) and around 100 innings. Most recently, he made one spot start last summer. He was designated for assignment in February but cleared waivers and remained in the organization, and he’s spent all of this season with Triple-A Las Vegas.
- Blackburn, 2021 AAA: 4.97 ERA, 88⅔ ip, 80 Ks, 27 BB, 8 HR, 114 hits, 4.30 FIP
As a reminder, that work came in the hitters’ paradise of Las Vegas and the Triple-A West League, though his ERA is a run-and-a-half better at home than on the road.
His MLB career can be split into two distinct sections. He enjoyed a strong rookie campaign, but hasn’t yet repeated that success, with injuries often getting in the way. He is now 27 years old.
- Blackburn, 2017: 3.22 ERA, 58⅔ ip, 22 Ks, 16 BB, 5 HR, 4.39 FIP, .334 xwOBA
- Blackburn, 18-20: 9.22 ERA, 41 ip, 29 Ks, 12 BB, 5 HR, 4.44 FIP, .344 xwOBA
We won’t have to wait long to see him in action. Blackburn will start tonight against the Chicago White Sox.
As for Bassitt, you can click here for all the news and details from last night and early this morning.
His right eye is still swollen shut, reports Steve Berman of The Athletic. Bassitt will undergo surgery next Tuesday to repair his facial fracture, near the right cheek area, reports insider Martin Gallegos:
“A’s trainer Nick Paparesta says team is looking at Tuesday for Chris Bassitt’s surgery to repair the bones near the cheek area. There’s a typical six-week timeline for the bones to heal. He could return to physical activity after 10 days. They’ll take it week to week, though.”
As for the chance of Bassitt returning to pitch this season, GM David Forst said the following, via Gallegos: “Obviously, baseball is secondary right now. We won’t rule anything out at this point. We will provide updates as time goes on.”
Trainer Nick Paparesta added this, via Shayna Rubin of the Mercury News: “To be very frank, knowing Chris as long as I have, he’s a bull in a china closet. So I think he’s probably going to attack this thing on as the next big challenge ahead of him and I don’t know that we have a way to stop him, to be honest.”
From the bottom of my heart, I’d like to thank the @whitesox and @Athletics staff, front offices, and owners. The support my family and I’ve received has been overwhelming. I’d also like to thank Rush University Medical Center and their staff. God is good. Can’t wait to get back!— Chris Bassitt (@C_Bass419) August 18, 2021
Here’s the updated roster, with the injury report below.
Sean Manaea (L)
Frankie Montas (R)
Cole Irvin (L)
James Kaprielian (R)
Paul Blackburn (R)
60-IL: Mike Fiers (R)
IL: Chris Bassitt (R)
Lou Trivino (R)
Andrew Chafin (L)
Jake Diekman (L)
Yusmeiro Petit (R)
Sergio Romo (R)
Deolis Guerra (R)
A.J. Puk (L)
Burch Smith (R)
60-IL: Trevor Rosenthal (R)
Sean Murphy (R)
Yan Gomes (R)
1B: Matt Olson (L)
2B: Jed Lowrie (S)
SS: Elvis Andrus (R)
3B: Matt Chapman (R)
UT: Josh Harrison (R)
UT: Tony Kemp (L)
DH: Mitch Moreland (L)
Mark Canha (R)
Starling Marte (R)
Stephen Piscotty (R)
Seth Brown (L)
IL: Chad Pinder (R)