Determined to give his all to seal a pivotal victory for the A’s, Andrus pushed through that pain and hobbled down the third-base line before collapsing over home plate as the winning run in a 2-1 walk-off victory over the Astros.
On Sunday, the A’s revealed that Andrus sustained a fractured left fibula on the play and was placed on the 10-day injured list. Quite literally, with only a week left in the season and the A’s clinging onto slim playoff hopes, Andrus gave everything he had and left it all out on the field before getting carried off it and into the clubhouse with the help of Matt Chapman and trainer Jeff Collins.
“I know he was in some pain when they were going through the tests on it,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Now knowing that it was fractured, it speaks to his toughness. To make it from third to home, a lot of guys probably lay there halfway. Adrenaline got him home.”
Andrus was to fly back to his home in Texas, where he’ll visit with Dr. Keith Meister, an orthopedic specialist in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, to determine the next step. Whether or not he’ll need surgery is up in the air, but A’s head trainer Nick Paparesta said he expects Andrus to be fully recovered and ready for Spring Training come February.
“It’s the lower third of his fibula. Not into the ankle joint,” Paparesta said. “He’ll see [Dr. Meister] and we’ll talk about some options for what he may need down the road.”
The A’s had heard about the toughness of Andrus over the years during his division battles with the A’s as a member of the Rangers. Joining the A’s in a trade this offseason, that quality remained true to form as he battled a few different injuries to enter Sunday having played in 146 of Oakland’s 155 games this season.
“I don’t know that I’ve managed a player tougher than Elvis,” Melvin said. “Pound for pound, this kid brings it every day. Probably played hurt way more than anybody knew. Whether it was his wrist, ankle, whatever, he just refused to come off the field. His pain tolerance is off the charts."
Batting .243, Andrus’ best work has actually come in the past month. Through 21 September games, the 33-year-old shortstop was batting .338 with four doubles, seven RBIs and 13 runs scored.
With Jed Lowrie also being placed on the IL Sunday due to a sprained right hand, the A’s recalled utility infielder Vimael Machín from Triple-A Las Vegas. When it comes to replacing Andrus, Melvin said he expects Josh Harrison to receive the bulk of playing time at shortstop over the final week of the regular season.
“It gives us a big hole and we’re gonna have to play around it,” Melvin said. “Another key loss among quite a few.”