Notes: Injuries piling up; Tom's 'sigh of relief'

April 7th, 2021

Not only have the losses been piling up for the A’s less than a full week into the regular season, they are also now dealing with a myriad of injuries.

was the latest player to be held out of the lineup. The A’s first baseman was not in the lineup for Tuesday night's game against the Dodgers and is considered day to day with a left knee contusion that was sustained after sliding into the wall down the right-field line at the Coliseum while chasing a foul ball. Though he played in Monday’s loss to Los Angeles, the A’s sent Olson for an MRI exam on Tuesday morning.

“There’s nothing structurally wrong,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Knowing him, it could just be a couple of days. We took the precaution of getting the MRI, but I’m hoping it’s only a day or two."

Mitch Moreland, who has been the designated hitter in each of Oakland’s first five games, replaced Olson at first base for Tuesday’s game against lefty Clayton Kershaw.

In addition to Olson’s injury, the A’s also lost a pair of relievers to the injured list on Tuesday. Left-hander Reymin Guduan (sprained left thumb) and right-hander Burch Smith (strained right groin) were both placed on the 10-day IL, with the club recalling outfielder Seth Brown and right-hander Jordan Weems from their alternate training site in Stockton, Calif.

In the case of Smith, his groin injury may require longer than 10 days to fully recover.

“It’s going to be a little bit,” Melvin said. “These things take some time.”

Here are the other three A’s currently on the 10-day injured list and updates on where they stand in their recovery:

RHP Mike Fiers, lumbar strain: Fiers tossed three innings against Giants Minor Leaguers at the A’s alternate training site. He’s expected to pitch two more times there, with Melvin still hopeful that the veteran righty can return to the A’s rotation in late April.

OF Chad Pinder, sprained left knee: Pinder’s knee sprain happened after he crashed into the padded right-field wall while completing an impressive leaping catch for the first out of Sunday’s game against Houston. He’s eligible to return on April 15.

RHP , right shoulder inflammation: The A’s new closer was placed on the IL just days before Opening Night and was shut down for six days. On Tuesday, he visited Dr. Greg Pearl, a shoulder specialist in Dallas, Texas. The A’s are awaiting results of the consultation, but it remains unlikely that Rosenthal will return to the club when eligible on April 14.

There was one bit of positive news for the A’s. Ramón Laureano, who had missed the last three games with a jammed left wrist, returned to Tuesday’s starting lineup, batting third and playing center field. His presence atop the lineup has been sorely missed for an Oakland squad that dropped its first five games of the regular season and never led at any point through those 45 innings played.

Tom relaxed after first Major League hit
had about as good of a two-day stretch as you’ll see in the Major Leagues.

After tossing a scoreless inning of relief against a tough Astros lineup in a blowout loss on Sunday, Tom, the rookie outfielder acquired by the A’s in December’s Rule 5 Draft, collected his first Major League hit in Monday’s 10-3 loss to the Dodgers.

Facing left-hander David Price in the eighth inning with two on and two outs, the left-handed-hitting Tom lined a 0-1 fastball that dropped in front of center fielder Cody Bellinger for an RBI single that scored Stephen Piscotty from second base.

“When I hit the ball and saw Bellinger in center field, the whole time running to first base, I’m thinking, ‘He better not lay out for this ball and catch it,’” Tom said. “Once I saw it drop, it was a big sigh of relief.”

Tom couldn’t contain the huge smile on his face as he fist-bumped A’s first base coach Mike Aldrete and clapped his hands before signaling to the A’s dugout to make sure somebody preserved the ball he hit.

Soaking in the moment for a few seconds as he received a standing ovation from the Oakland faithful, Tom then pointed his finger to the section just above the A’s dugout where his mother, Bobbie, and girlfriend, Brittany, were both waving their arms and clapping.

It’s been an incredible journey for the 26-year-old Hawaiian. The hit lifted a big weight off Tom’s shoulders after he’d gone 0-for-9 to begin the season. Now that the first hit is out of the way, Tom can relax and work on showing the hitting skills that impressed the A’s throughout his college and Minor League playing days at the Major League level.

“They say the first one is the hardest,” Tom said. “Now I can play baseball again without needing to worry or putting unnecessary pressure on myself.”