There is no question that the Oakland A’s have missed Chad Pinder this season. His presence in the lineup, either in the middle of the A’s infield or in the outfield, provides another needed potent bat. Unfortunately, he has been on the shelf since April 5, having sprained his left knee while making an impressive catch while crashing into the wall.
The A’s received good news about Pinder’s recovery on Friday. He ran the bases prior to the A’s game, putting him one step closer to a rehab assignment.
Oakland A’s need Chad Pinder in the lineup
Pinder needs to be evaluated on Saturday, and may well need to run the bases for another couple of days before he would begin that rehab assignment. It may then be a couple of weeks before he is ready to return to the lineup, as he needs to get his swing back in shape and be ready at several positions.
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His return cannot come soon enough for the A’s. Although Pinder has served as more of a utility player, he had been Elvis Andrus‘ primary backup at short. Given Andrus’ struggles with the bat thus far, and the general black hole that shortstop has been in the lineup, Pinder may end up seeing a decent amount of time at the position.
Such a move would trade the team’s overall defense for Pinder’s offense. He has not exactly shined with the glove at short, having cost the A’s four runs in his 35 games at the position. Likewise, he has not appeared at short since 2019, making his presence there even more questionable defensively.
But this would be a way to get his bat into the lineup more consistently. A lifetime .245/.302/.432 hitter in 1138 plate appearances, he would provide more pop to the batting order. He has belted 45 homers and 55 doubles, reaching double digits in home runs each of the last three full major league seasons. He would certainly be an upgrade offensively over Andrus.
Chad Pinder has taken the next step towards returning to the Oakland A’s. While he is still likely weeks away, his return cannot come soon enough.