The Oakland Athletics made some roster moves because of different injuries hitting their players right in the proverbial forehead ahead of their series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, a game they went on to lose 6-1 in front of a big crowd.
As we reported yesterday, left-handed reliever Richard Lovelady was injured in the series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays and the franchise placed him on the injured list (IL) following the game. In his place, right-hander Chad Smith is being recalled from Triple-A.
The team's decision to swap out a left-handed pitcher for a right-handed one is supported by the presence of lefties Sam Moll and Sam Long in the bullpen, along with Ken Waldichuk joining them. That said, it'd be wild to think too high of Chad Smith. Smith is not going to be more than just another warm body to throw into the pitch in case of emergency, so don't get too hyped about his call-up.
Lovelady's injury is currently labeled as a strained elbow, which can often result in a lengthy absence from the game or even necessitate elbow surgery. Remember that Lovelady underwent Tommy John surgery just 20 months ago, which makes this latest development even more worrying looking at his short- and mid/long-term future in the organization and baseball as a whole.
Lovelady has been a reliable contributor this season, posting a 3.86 ERA over 21 innings. Smith, on the other hand, is yet to establish himself in the major leagues but he already appeared in eight games with the A's back in April, so it's not that he's entirely new to the Show.
Ramon Laureano, Kevin Smith miss the opener against the Phillies at the Coliseum
More noteworthy news items emerged before the A's 6-1 loss to the Phillies on Friday.
Outfielder Ramon Laureano has been absent from the lineup for three consecutive games due to a left-hand contusion. Manager Mark Kotsay cited Laureano's hand injury as the reason for his absence, which occurred when he jammed his hand into third base sliding headfirst during a successful steal attempt last Tuesday.
Despite the setback, Laureano is reportedly feeling good and he was available off the bench during Friday's game.
On the other hand, Kevin Smith was expected to start at shortstop but was ultimately scratched from the lineup on Friday due to tightness in his back. Smith experienced discomfort while warming up in the batting cage before the game, which forced the A's into using Aledmys Diaz as their starting shortstop yesterday while batting seventh in the lineup.
In other news, pitcher Freddy Tarnok made a rehab start for the A's affiliate in Las Vegas on Thursday. The 24-year-old pitched 2.2 innings, allowing no hits while striking out two batters and walking two. Tarnok hit the IL on March 30 due to a strained right shoulder, but his successful rehab outing is an encouraging sign for his return to the active roster eventually.