MESA, Ariz. -- Third baseman Matt Chapman rejoined the A's on Friday bearing good news.
The infielder reported no structural damage to his sore right hand following an MRI in Los Angeles on Thursday and fully expects to be ready for the regular season.
Chapman must first get in Cactus League games, however, and there's no timetable for when that could happen. He received a cortisone shot to relieve inflammation and bruising around the sesamoid bone, and he won't pick up a bat or throw for several days at least.
"We are pretty confident that it's going to push all that swelling out and everything's going to be good to go," Chapman said.
Cortisone shots can often provide relief within a matter of days. Chapman will continue to take grounders in the meantime, and when he feels well enough to do so, he will start hitting again. It's a process that won't be rushed, leaving the A's uncertain when they will see their star third baseman in a Spring Training game.
"The timing of it in spring, if you're going to have something like this, this would be the time for it," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Hopefully it's not any longer than we expect and it's a minor thing. Not ideal, and he wants to be out there and play right away, but if we get this thing figured out here in whatever the short-term timetable is, we should be fine."
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Chapman said the discomfort dates to November, at which point he underwent an X-ray that came back clean. He didn't swing a bat again until January and was feeling fine until he started taking hacks against live pitching this week, prompting the return visit to Dr. Steven Shin and an MRI.
"It's kind of hard to put my finger on exactly when it happened," Chapman said. "Went into training and something didn't feel right, so I just kind of wanted to let them know so we're all on the same page, but the positive is I did get a cortisone [shot], there is no tear, there is no break, everything seems good, everything is strong, I feel strong."
"You never know where anything goes," Melvin said, "but from what I understand, everybody is kind of relieved."
Renato Nunez, who is out of options and attempting to land a bench job, drew the start at third base in Friday's Cactus League opener against the Angels. Infield prospect Sheldon Neuse will get his turn at the position Saturday, and ultra-utility man Chad Pinder will also see time at third, which was his primary position at Virginia Tech.
Chapman, 24, hit .234 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs in 84 games during his rookie campaign and is preparing for his first full big league season.
"We're going to be smart about this and definitely ready to go," he said.