The Oakland A’s had a specific role in mind for Mike Fiers when he returned to the organization. He was slated to work as a long reliever/spot starter, serving as protection at the major league level in case any of the A’s starters went down with an injury.
The problem with those plans is that Fiers himself had to deal with injury. His 2021 debut was delayed as he worked back up to full strength. He then lasted for all of two outings from heading back to the Injured List with a sprained right elbow. Fiers was eventually placed on the 60 day IL as his elbow was not healing as expected.
Mike Fiers takes step back during rehab
Although he was a long way from returning to the A’s, Fiers had begun throwing off of flat ground, the first step towards getting back into action. However, he felt discomfort in his elbow, leading to the A’s shutting him down for a couple of days as a precautionary measure.
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It was clear that Fiers was not right during his brief time with the A’s this season. He had allowed eight runs on 15 hits, including four homers, and four walks over his 9.1 innings, striking out five batters. That was not close to what the A’s had become accustomed to from Fiers, who had been a solid back of the rotation option.
In theory, Fiers could still return to that role, although he has been passed on the depth chart. James Kaprielian has been a revelation since entering the rotation, and Jesus Luzardo would be the next man up should there be an opening. Fiers, at this point, would seemingly be relegated to mop up duty or long relief should a pitcher have a short outing.
However, it may be a long time until the A’s have to worry about that. He is still months away from a potential return to the majors, as he would need to start his throwing program over again. Even then, there is no guarantee that his elbow will hold up enough to be a viable part of the A’s pitching staff this year.
The Oakland A’s have shut Mike Fiers down for a couple of days. If he continues to deal with elbow issues, his time on the Injured List could last longer than expected.