By John Hickey
Saturday, May 4th, 2013 at 9:39 am in 2013 regular season.
In retrospect it’s become increasingly important that the A’s won Monday’s 19-inning, six-hour, 32-minute marathon against the Angels in Oakland, because the negative repercussions from that game just keep mounting.
Outfielder Chris Young is the third player on the team to have suffered an injury in that game that necessitated a trip to the disabled list, Young’s left quad keeping him from running full out.
Already, the A’s had lost pitcher Brett Anderson to a sprained right foot (admittedly, he was already hurting before his 5.1 innings of one-run relief) and center fielder Coco Crisp, who strained his left hamstring while running up the third base line.
At least the A’s have that 10-8 victory to look back on positively.
When you consider that nominal starting shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima was lost to an extra-inning injury in the waning days of spring training, and the A’s are likely to start feeling skittish when asked to play more than nine innings.
“I can’t ever remember losing three guys like that in one game,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “They might be our three highest-paid guys.’’
They aren’t, but they are three of Oakland’s four payroll leaders. Young and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes both earn $8.5 million, Crisp brings home $7 million and Anderson $5.5 million. Together the injured trio earns $21 million, or one-third of the A’s payroll.
Young said he would like to think that he’d be ready before his 15 days are up (the DL move was backdated to Tuesday), but he’s not ready yet.
“Nah, it’s just taking a little longer than I’d hoped,’’ Young said. “They decided to make a move. We’re hoping I can come back at 100 percent instead of a 75 percent. I understand the move.’’
As recently as the Friday pregame, Melvin had hoped to get Young in the lineup in New York this weekend, but it ultimately became clear that wasn’t going to happen.
“Chris can get going quickly, but stopping is a problem,’’ Melvin said. “Making turns and cuts is a problem, too. He’s not quite there yet.’’
Young said he was able to jog in the outfield without pain, when he turned it up, the pain was still there, five days after the original injury. He’s had similar injuries in the past that have cleared up in “four or five days, but others have taken longer, and there’s no way to knowhow this one will be.’’
“I was jogging fine, but I can’t turn it up; it’s not ready,’’ Young said. “If I can’t steal bases and play the outfield, my value is not as high. Ideally, I’d like to be ready before the 14 days are up and be healthy.’’
Young will say with the club through the weekend, and he’d like to remain with the team throughout the rest of the trip to Cleveland and Seattle, but Melvin said the outfielder might be sent back to Oakland, although no decision had been made.
The move to disable Young means that Michael Taylor is back with the team for the third time in six weeks and for the first time has a chance to get significant playing time starting with Sunday’s game against the Yankees’ left-handed Andy Pettitte.
Left-handed outfielder/DH Seth Smith got off to an 8-for-12 start to the season against lefties, so Melvin was comfortable writing Smith’s name in the lineup even when the matchups haven’t been good. But the last two games Wednesday and Friday have seen Oakland face two of the better lefties in the league in the Angels’ C.J. Wilson and the Yankees’ C.C. Sabathia and Smith is 0-for-10 in those games with eight strikeouts.
He’s still averaging .385 against lefties, but that’s down from .667.
“I think (Taylor) will see some at-bats,’’ Melvin said, pointing out the struggles of the last couple of games against lefties for Smith. “There’s an excellent chance to see (Taylor in the lineup) tomorrow.’’