La Stella plunked on elbow; X-rays negative
LOS ANGELES -- A's second baseman Tommy La Stella exited Oakland's 9-7 win in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Wednesday in the eighth inning after being hit by a pitch on his right elbow from Astros left-hander Brooks Raley. La Stella was diagnosed with a right elbow contusion after the game, as the club received some good news with the X-rays coming back negative. He's in the starting lineup for today's Game 4, batting second and at second base.
It’s unclear, however, if La Stella will be available for Game 4 at Dodger Stadium. He’s expected to try to partake in batting practice before Thursday’s game to see if he can play.
"Unbelievable how it missed the pad completely and hit him on the elbow," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We'll have to wait and see how he does tomorrow. It's not an area that swells up a ton once it hits the bone. And it's not in the muscle.”
La Stella, who connected on a solo homer in the first and was 2-for-3 in the game, was hit by a 90.6 mph sinker directly on his elbow and fell to the ground in pain. La Stella remained on the ground for roughly two minutes and was eventually removed from the game. He was replaced by pinch-runner Nate Orf, as the hit-by-pitch loaded the bases. Chad Pinder followed with a sacrifice fly to give the A's a 9-7 lead.
“Boy, at the time, I didn't have a great feeling about it,” Melvin said. “But we got an X-ray, no fracture, no break. So we'll see how he's doing tomorrow."
La Stella, 31, was acquired ahead of the Trade Deadline in a deal with the Angels and is a major part of Oakland’s offense. If he’s out for Game 4 and a possible Game 5, the A's will need to get creative at second base -- and it'll be tough to replace his production.
La Stella, who was an All-Star in 2019, hit .281/.370/.449 with five homers and 25 RBIs in 55 games split between the Angels and A's this year. He was also hitting .273 (6-for-22) with one homer, one RBI and five runs scored in six games this postseason.
The A's could turn to the left-handed-hitting Tony Kemp at second base or go with Pinder, who has taken over at third base for the injured Matt Chapman. If Pinder goes to second, it would require Jake Lamb to play third. Pinder has been hot while homering in back-to-back games, including a key three-run shot to tie the score at 7 in the seventh inning in Game 3.
Lamb, signed as a free agent on Sept. 14 after being released by the D-backs, has seen action in four games this postseason, going 1-for-7 with a single. He started Game 1 of the ALDS at third base and went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
Kemp, however, has yet to get an at-bat this postseason. He does have playoff experience, however, playing six games with the Astros in the 2018 postseason, going 4-for-14 with a homer and five walks.