Joyce goes on DL with lumbar strain

June 6th, 2018

ARLINGTON -- The A's sent left fielder Matt Joyce to the 10-day disabled list with a lumbar strain on Wednesday and selected outfielder Nick Martini from Triple-A Nashville to bolster their ailing outfield corps. is also out of the lineup, so manager Bob Melvin needed another outfielder.
Joyce will undergo an MRI on Thursday to better diagnose the back soreness that he said has bothered him for 4-6 weeks. He has struggled at the plate thus far, batting .196/.308/.369 in 199 at-bats.
"It's just progressively gotten worse, and more and more sore -- I tried to push through it and it just got to a point where it was too painful and it really wasn't helping me, and obviously it wasn't helping me to help the team," Joyce said. "I try to look at it from a positive standpoint, [it'll] give me a chance to regroup and make the necessary adjustment that I need and get back out there and do what I can do."
Melvin agreed that Joyce, who was placed on the DL retroactive to June 3, might benefit from some downtime.
"He's grinding pretty hard," Melvin said. "He's used to, at this point in the season, his numbers looking a little better. He's an impactful guy in our lineup. So when you're struggling a little bit and dealing with some pain and injury problems, it's even tougher to get on a roll and get consistent, so maybe a nice little break for him -- one, physically, and two, mentally -- he can get over both these things and get back and help us in the fashion that he can."
Martini, a 27-year-old who was playing in his eighth year in the Minors, made his Major League debut Wednesday, pinch-hitting for right fielder in the sixth inning. He grounded out against Matt Bush in his first big league at-bat, and then stayed in the game in right.
"It was an unbelievable feeling," Martini said of his debut. "I've obviously been playing Minor League ball for a long time, so I just was at a loss for words, I was super excited. I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't super nervous. It's a situation, obviously, I've never been in in my life. It was a heck of an experience. … I had a blast. My mom, my dad, my siblings and my girlfriend were able to make it. It was awesome to be able to share this moment with them. It was like, 'Wow, after all this time, you've got a chance.' It was awesome."
Martini joined the A's as a Minor League free agent during the offseason, and had a strong spring, hitting .316 (6-for-19) in 20 games. He has also put up solid numbers with Nashville, batting .299 with seven doubles, three homers, 23 RBIs and 36 walks.
Piscotty was out Wednesday with a sore left quad. Melvin pinch-hit for him, something he doesn't typically do, in the seventh inning on Tuesday, due to the injury.
"The prudent thing to do is to give him a day off. We do have some outfielders here with Martini here, too, so we can give him a day," Melvin said. "I typically have not hit for Piscotty so that played into it, he was not feeling great."
Blackburn to return Thursday
A's right-hander will make his season debut Thursday after missing the first two-plus months with a right forearm strain suffered at the end of Spring Training. The 24-year-old was 3-1 with a 3.22 ERA in 10 starts for the A's in his rookie season last year. The A's will need to make a roster move since Blackburn has been on the 60-day DL since early April after being placed on the DL on March 26.