One strange injury

Yet another addition to the A’s disabled list Saturday, and this was an odd one. Daric Barton went on the DL with a stiff neck, complications from an unusual accident over the All-Star break. Barton dove into a swimming pool, not realizing how shallow it was, and struck his head on the pool floor. Barton said he never lost consciousness, but he suffered a substantial cut on top of his head that required a trip to the ER. He received six staples to close the gash, though they’ve since been removed. The lingering neck pain isn’t severe, but it was enough to keep him out of the lineup for a few days anyway, so the A’s recalled first baseman Wes Bankston, who started Saturday.

Considering the circumstances, it’s good to see Barton didn’t hurt himself more severely. But the whole turn of events has him in hot water with A’s manager Bob Geren, who called the incident a “careless mistake.” I can see why he’s upset.  Managers come out of the All-Star break assuming their players will be well rested, not nursing new injuries.  

Barton is having a tough year hitting-wise, and I can’t imagine this will do much to help his cause. Will the A’s chalk this up as a lesson learned by a 22-year-old rookie and leave it at that? Maybe. The A’s  think highly of Barton’s potential.  He’s one of the centerpiece players in this youth movement they’re emphasizing, and they’ve stuck with him in the lineup though he’s hitting just .224. But Bankston got lots of playing time during his most recent call-up, much of it at Barton’s expense, and if Bankston keeps hitting, there’s no reason to think the A’s won’t keep playing him.

Totally unrelated thought … I’m never sure what to expect each day when I glance at the A’s batting order. Geren is trying every combo he can think of to get some steady offense going. Last night Ryan Sweeney batted third. Today he’s at the top of the lineup. Carlos Gonzalez was in the 7th spot last night, today he’s the cleanup man. The A’s just don’t have that obvious choice for an everyday leadoff guy. And with Frank Thomas and Eric Chavez on the DL, there’s no middle-of the-lineup presence either. …  



Joe Stiglich