HOUSTON -- A's shortstop Marcus Semien has drawn deserved praise this season for his turnaround in the infield and an increased ability to produce power, but his value very much still lies in his durability.Semien is one of only three players around the league to start each of their respective
HOUSTON -- A's shortstop Marcus Semien has drawn deserved praise this season for his turnaround in the infield and an increased ability to produce power, but his value very much still lies in his durability.
Semien is one of only three players around the league to start each of their respective club's games, joining Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar and Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop.
The A's infielder started his 86th game at shortstop on Thursday and plans to play nonstop ahead of the All-Star break, despite dealing with a minor right shoulder injury he sustained on a diving play in San Francisco last week.
All the while, he's totaled a career-high 18 home runs, most among American League shortstops, and 44 RBIs, one shy of his career best.
"I knew I could rely on him before, but now I know he can even play through injuries," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He's getting treatment every day, but for him, that's just part of it. You get treatment, then you go out and play. It would've been easy to give him a day off, but he wanted nothing to do with it. He continues to perform at a high level, he doesn't look like he's run down, and he takes pride in the fact that he's out there every day."
The old-school approach is applauded by A's infield coach Ron Washington, who managed similar gamers like Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre with the Rangers.
"We talk about that all the time," Semien said. "That's what they do. They won. I think that's the only way to do it, and I just want to give it my all. It was the same way with Miguel Tejada."
Semien's season-opening streak of consecutive starts is the longest by an Athletic since Tejada started all 162 games in 2003. Tejada started at least 159 games in six consecutive seasons, a feat Semien could potentially duplicate.
"I'm here to play," he said. "In the past, with the White Sox, I didn't get to play every day, so now that I have the opportunity, of course, and I work hard to do that."
It's been well documented that Semien clocks multiple hours of overtime work, too, taking the field with Washington as many as five hours before game time for additional defensive instruction.
Semien won't play every game this year, though. His fiancé, Tarah Murrey, is due to give birth to the couple's first child, a boy, in August, and Semien plans to take advantage of the league's paternity leave.
"Family first," Semien said. "Just because I've played every game doesn't mean that's my goal, to where it affects family. They give us that time to try to be there for the birth, and that's what I want to do."
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.