Oakland Athletics Roundup: Henderson Alvarez To Make Rehab Start; Eric Sogard Update
Henderson Alvarez to Pitch for High-A Ports; Eric Sogard Gets Second Opinion
Oakland Athletics Roundup: Wednesday, April 20
Wednesday will be a big day for two of the Oakland Athletics’ injured players. To start with, infielder Eric Sogard will see Dr. James Andrews as he seeks a second opinion on his left knee. Sogard began the season on the disabled list, after experiencing shoulder discomfort during Spring Training. The shoulder discomfort has since cleared up, but knee pain has prevented him from returning. His visit to Dr. Andrews is expected to confirm that the infielder will need surgery to remove “loose bodies in the knee near the patella tendon.”
John Hickey of IBA Buzz also writes that Sogard is expected to miss six to eight weeks, and would be able to return around the All-Star break. The 29-year-old said he has experienced knee pain in recent seasons, but has been able to play through it until now. The A’s and Sogard are both hopeful that he will be able to recover quickly and return to the majors in the second half of the year.
In other news, manager Bob Melvin announced that Henderson Alvarez will make his first rehab start of the season on Wednesday. According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser, Melvin stated that Alvarez will pitch three innings and throw no more than 45 pitches.
The right-hander underwent shoulder surgery in July last season while with the Miami Marlins. The A’s predict that he will return in mid or late May, making it just shy of a full year since Alvarez last pitched in the big leagues. Rehab assignments can last up to 30 days, so expect to see Alvarez in an A’s uniform by May 20 at the latest.
Alvarez could be a big boost for the A’s rotation, which has been steady so far but features two unproven starters in left-handers Rich Hill and Eric Surkamp. He will also be competing with right-hander Jesse Hahn, who has pitched well in the minors so far this season – allowing just six hits and four walks in 12 innings of scoreless work, and striking out 11 of the 43 batters he’s faced in his two starts.
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Around the Web
MiLB.com: Matt Chapman Rebounding From Injuries – MiLB.com’s Tony Schulte reports on A’s Spring Training superstar Matt Chapman’s start to the Texas League season. After punishing the ball all Spring, Chapman has cooled off for Double-A Midland. Through Sunday, reports Schulte, Chapman was just 7-for-32 on the season, although five of those hits were extra-base hits.
Schulte discusses Chapman’s struggles with injuries in 2014 and 2015, and it’s worth a read for those who aren’t familiar with his past, but the biggest takeaway here is that the A’s were right to send Chapman to Double-A. Although many fans were clamoring for Chapman’s call-up at the end of Spring Training, it’s important to keep in mind that he’s still young and inexperienced, and receiving everyday at-bats in the minors is far more beneficial to him in the long-term than major league service time would have been.
There’s a very small sample size to go on so far, but it will be interesting to see whether Chapman’s 2016 season looks more like his performance in camp, or his performance through the first week of the year.