OAKLAND -- Ramón Laureano has meticulously followed each step of his rehab process, anxiously awaiting the green light from team doctors. Now he’s been given an official target for a return.
Laureano is expected to come off the 10-day injured list at some point in the A’s upcoming three-game series with the Tigers, which begins Friday night at the Coliseum. He’ll rejoin the A’s after being sidelined for about five weeks with a stress reaction in his right shin since July 31.
“Our timetable has always been the Detroit series,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said before Tuesday’s series opener against the Angels. “We’re going to stay pretty disciplined with that. I know he’s eager to play. He was eager to play a week ago. There’s reasons that we’re doing this. We want to make sure he’s healthy, and if all goes well in the next couple of days, I think it will be at some point in the Detroit series.”
In an effort to keep his baseball skills sharp, Laureano has been taking regular at-bats in Arizona while the team has been on the road. He even faced left-hander Brett Anderson in a live batting practice session before Tuesday’s game in Oakland. After running at full speed over his last four sprinting drills, Laureano said he feels ready to get back into the starting lineup as soon as possible.
“I was always feeling good. This is just part of the game,” Laureano said. “I’ve just focused on the therapy and whenever they think I’m ready, that’s when I’m ready.”
Laureano’s return will come without any Minor League rehab games, but the A’s believe his at-bats against pitchers in the organization have served as a suitable replacement for game action. He’ll slot back into his usual spot in center field. Mark Canha, who has been more than an adequate fill-in for Laureano as he’s batted .310 with six home runs and 18 RBIs in his absence, will likely still get regular playing time at one of the corner outfield spots.
“Mark Canha has done a terrific job,” Melvin said. “Whoever we give an opportunity to seems to take advantage, but a guy like Laureano will be a nice addition, both offensively and defensively.”
Murphy to debut this series
A’s top hitting prospect Sean Murphy will start behind the plate either Wednesday or Thursday against the Angels, which would mark the Major League debut of the 24-year-old catcher the club expects to be a big part of the future as soon as next year.
“It’s just been getting him the proper amount of time and development in the Minors,” Melvin said. “He’s not just going to sit around. He’ll get his share of starts.”