Matt Olson hits himself in face during batting practice

OAKLAND, CA - April 18: Matt Olson #28 of the Oakland Athletics bats during the game against the Detroit Tigers at RingCentral Coliseum on April 18, 2021 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Tigers 3-2. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - April 18: Matt Olson #28 of the Oakland Athletics bats during the game against the Detroit Tigers at RingCentral Coliseum on April 18, 2021 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Tigers 3-2. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) /
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The Oakland A’s lineup underwent a last minute change before their matinee against the Oakland A’s. Matt Olson was taken out of the lineup, with Mitch Moreland getting the start at first. He slid into the sixth spot in the lineup, with Sean Murphy moving into the cleanup role. The change was relatively sudden and without explanation at the time.

Eventually, we came to learn why Olson was taken out of the lineup. He had hit a line drive in batting practice that struck the L screen protecting the pitcher. That ball ricocheted off the screen and struck Olson in the eye. He is undergoing x-rays to determine if there is any damage.

Oakland A’s cannot afford to lose Matt Olson

Olson may be the most indispensable piece of the A’s lineup. A power hitting first baseman with Gold Glove caliber defense, his presence makes the A’s infield defense that much better. Throws that would have been errors turn into outs due to his prowess with the glove.

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He had been the A’s best hitter to begin the season. Olson had overcome his year-long slump in 2020, posting a .296/.363/.580 batting line in 91 plate appearances, hitting six homers and five doubles. His strikeout rate has dropped to a career best 17.6% despite being more aggressive at the plate.

Olson has certainly made his mark on the A’s leaderboards as well. His 173 OPS+, 26 hits, .296 batting average, and six homers lead the team, and he is tied with Jed Lowrie for the team lead with 17 RBI entering Thursday’s action. For a team that has struggled to score runs at times, losing Olson for an extended period could be a major blow.

At this point, Olson’s eye is reportedly fairly swollen. That would make sense considering how hard he must have hit that ball in order for it to hit him in the face on the fly after striking the L screen. Hopefully, he will just miss a day or two, and be back in the A’s lineup.

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Matt Olson was removed from the Oakland A’s lineup after striking himself in the face during batting practice. They cannot afford to lose him for an extended time.

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