OAKLAND -- Two injured A's position players are close to getting back on the field.Catcher Josh Phegley, out since July 24 with a left oblique strain, caught two bullpen sessions Thursday after taking more than 50 swings in the batting cage Wednesday."I feel good. Everything's been progressing really well and
OAKLAND -- Two injured A's position players are close to getting back on the field.
Catcher Josh Phegley, out since July 24 with a left oblique strain, caught two bullpen sessions Thursday after taking more than 50 swings in the batting cage Wednesday.
"I feel good. Everything's been progressing really well and I feel solid," Phegley said. "I think we're eyeing a rehab assignment here soon. Health-wise, I'm right there."
Manager Bob Melvin agreed with Phegley, adding that the expectation he's had all along is for Phegley to head out on a rehab assignment at some point during Oakland's nine-game homestand. The A's started the second of three series Thursday night against the Orioles.
Before the injury, Phegley was batting .205 with three homers as the backup catcher, primarily starting against left-handed pitchers. He said he was able to recognize the pain in his oblique early enough for it to not be too serious.
"With obliques, a lot of people say, 'At least a month.' I'm trying to make it shorter than that," Phegley said. "I think I caught it in time, and with the way it's progressing, I hope it's 100 percent soon."
• Outfielder Jake Smolinski (right shoulder surgery) continues to throw from farther distances, stretching out to 105 feet Thursday. Though it'll still be a while before he's able to throw in games, Melvin said the A's will send him out on a rehab assignment sometime next week.
"We're getting close," Melvin said. "We'll get him out and get some DH at-bats. We have to here at some point because the season ends for the Minor Leagues at the end of this month."
Smolinski played in 99 games with the A's last season, hitting .238 with seven homers and 27 RBIs. He had surgery on his shoulder in March.
• Bobby Wahl (right shoulder strain) is visiting with vascular surgeon Dr. Gregory Pearl, a specialist in thoracic-outlet syndrome, in Dallas this week. After going on the disabled list in May, Wahl had been out on rehab assignments at the end of July, but was shut down after experiencing more issues with his shoulder.
Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99.