Chad Pinder's return has come at an ideal time in the A’s schedule.
When Pinder landed on the 10-day injured list on April 5 with a left knee sprain, the team was left without any options to back up third baseman Matt Chapman and shortstop Elvis Andrus throughout a grueling stretch that included 17 straight games in 17 days. With a similar stretch coming after Monday’s off-day -- Oakland will play 16 straight days from May 18 thought June 2 -- Pinder, who was reinstated from the IL on Friday, will get a chance to show off his versatility by playing all over the field.
“We’ll see where he plays on a particular day,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We’re going to have to give some guys an off-day and he usually ends up picking whoever up. Not really mapped out to this point.”
Pinder was in Saturday’s lineup against the Twins at shortstop to provide a breather for Andrus, who entered the day having played in 38 of the A’s first 40 games. With experience playing every position besides pitcher and catcher over his career, Pinder is a true super-utility option.
The impact Pinder can have on the lineup was clear during the 2020 postseason. Filling in at third for Chapman -- who was out with a season-ending hip injury -- he combined to hit .318 with two homers and seven RBIs in seven playoff games.
The A’s are in a much different position since the last time Pinder started a game. At the time of his injury, the club was off to an 0-5 start. Since April 7, Oakland has gone 24-10, which is the best record in the Majors over that span. Knowing that roll they’ve been on, particularly on offense, Pinder said he can take his time to regain a rhythm at the plate.
“I’m just trying to keep things simple. I don’t have to do too much to try to produce right away,” Pinder said. “I can take my at-bats and get settled in, because the guys around me are playing great. I don’t have to put too much pressure on myself. Over time, I’ll get back and be much more comfortable.”
Moreland out of lineup
Dealing with soreness in his left side that developed during Friday’s win over Minnesota, designated hitter Mitch Moreland was held out of Saturday’s lineup. This comes despite the fact that Moreland is 4-for-9 with a homer in his career against Twins starter José Berríos, lending credence to the severity of the injury.
“I think we’ll have a better idea with him at the end of the day and see how he does over the course of a day,” Melvin said. “It’s still affecting him at this point. I think we’ll make a decision on where we go with him after the game today.”