SAN FRANCISCO -- The A’s are going to have to switch things up at the top of their lineup with the absence of Mark Canha.
Prior to Friday’s three-game series opener against the Giants, Canha was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left hip strain. The outfielder had made 71 of his 72 starts in the leadoff spot for the A’s this season, leaving manager Bob Melvin unsure of how he might go about filling that role for at least the next week and a half or so.
“That’s a tough one for us,” Melvin said. “What he’s meant to this team and what he’s done in the leadoff spot, he’s tough to replace.”
Tony Kemp, who batted leadoff in Friday night’s order, is likely to get the majority of playing time there against right-handed pitchers. Against lefties -- San Francisco will start a left-hander on Saturday and Sunday -- Melvin said he was still considering his leadoff options.
There is some concern with Canha’s hip issue given that it’s the same hip that he had surgically repaired in 2016, though Melvin said that the way the outfielder has been walking around on it leads the club to believe that while he’s likely to require more than the 10 days on the IL, the injury is not a long-term concern. The A’s had not yet received the MRI results on Canha’s hip as of Friday afternoon.
The A’s recalled utility infielder Vimael Machín from Triple-A Las Vegas to fill Canha’s spot on the roster. Though he’s unlikely to get many starts, Melvin said the versatile Machín, who can play all four infield spots, could be a top option off the bench while the club plays in a National League park over the weekend. Machín was on a tear in Las Vegas, batting .300 (36-for-120) with seven doubles, three triples, three home runs and 28 RBIs over 31 games.
“You look for that type of versatility, especially against National League teams,” Melvin said. “He was swinging the bat really well. It seems like a nice fit here in a National League ballpark. Good chance you see him at some point in time during these games, whether it’s hitting in the pitcher’s spot or I have to move some guys around.”