A's cleared to return Friday against Padres

Semien (left side soreness) expected to avoid IL, sit Game 1 vs. S.D.

September 4th, 2020

Per Major League Baseball, the A’s were cleared to host baseball activities on Thursday at the Oakland Coliseum and will resume their season on Friday at home vs. the San Diego Padres, as scheduled.

Since the A’s announced that a member of the organization tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 28, all subsequent tests for the remainder of the traveling party -- including those taken on Wednesday -- have been negative.

So after three days of being sequestered inside their team hotel in Houston because of a positive COVID-19 test by a member of the organization, the A’s were able to return to some normalcy on Wednesday when, after flying home to the Bay Area on Tuesday night, they took the field for a workout at the Oakland Coliseum for the first time since Saturday.

“It’s been tough,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s something we’re going to have to work through and understand that, at this point, there’s not much we can do about it. Just prepare for our next game.”

When Oakland does play San Diego, it will be its first game since playing a doubleheader in Houston on Saturday. Before that, the A's had not played since Aug. 26 after back-to-back games against the Rangers and Astros were postponed as forms of protest over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a police officer in Kenosha, Wis.

Unable to work out during their time in self-isolation, the A’s did their best to shake off rust by holding workouts at the Coliseum on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We have to be prepared for it. We have to go out there with the expectation to win come Friday,” Melvin said. “We’ll try to ramp up here ... to prepare for that. But this season, in general, has been a mental battle as well. You see the standing and see how they are doing, there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes this year than other years.”

That preparation will have to include readiness for a heavy workload for the month of September. Due to the various postponements, the A’s will have to play four doubleheaders over the final 20 days of the regular season. The first twin bill will come Tuesday at home against the Astros, who trail the A's by two games for first place in the American League West.

Part of the reason the A’s acquired in a deal with the Rangers on Monday’s Trade Deadline was to fortify a pitching staff that will need as much help as it can get over this upcoming stretch of games. The A’s newcomer will be available to pitch out of the bullpen on Friday night, but Melvin also indicated that Minor will get plenty of starts with the impending doubleheaders.

“What looks to be a logjam in the rotation is not,” Melvin said. “We wanted a guy like that, and he’s willing to do anything. He’ll have several starts under his belt just because of the doubleheaders alone.”

As for the rest of the rotation, Melvin plans to keep it in turn. , who was scheduled to start Sunday’s game in Houston before it was postponed, will take the mound Friday against the Padres. , , and will follow in the rotation the next four days after Luzardo.

“We’ll stay in rotation the way we were going,” Melvin said. “We don’t want to back anybody off and give them an even longer time to be inactive. We’ll remain in the five-man rotation where we were with Minor helping out in the doubleheaders.”

Semien expected to avoid IL
Following left side soreness near his rib cage that snapped a streak of 276 consecutive games started, which was the second longest streak in Oakland history, A’s shortstop took part in infield drills on Wednesday. While Melvin does not believe Semien will require a stint on the injured list, he does not expect him to play in Friday’s game.

“He’s throwing. Swinging the bat is going to be the biggest issue,” Melvin said. “If I had to handicap it right now, I would say he probably doesn’t play on Friday and we’ll see where we go from there.”

In the interim, versatile infielders and Vimael Machín are likely to fill Semien’s spot in a platoon role.