Oakland A’s first baseman Matt Olson underwent successful right hand surgery in Los Angeles today. The A’s currently do not have a timetable for his return, but Olson reportedly had his hamate removed; a type of surgery that usually takes two months to recover from.
One of baseball’s up-and-coming power hitters now hits the injured list, something foreign to him so far in his professional career. Throughout seven seasons in the minor and major leagues, Olson had never spent time on the (formerly known as) disabled list. He played in all 163 games played by the A’s in 2018, however now finds himself injured after just two games in this campaign.
Olson, playing in his first full season in the Majors, batted in the fifth spot for the A’s last year and hit .247 with 29 HR, 84 RBI, .340 wOBA, .207 ISO, 117 wRC+ and 3.4 WAR. Not only was he solid offensively, he was baseball’s best defensive first baseman last season, earning a Gold Glove along with teammate Matt Chapman. Olson played a very large role in Oakland’s 2018 success, and figures to do the same in another playoff run by the A’s this season.
While it’s a big blow to the Athletics, they do have options. Mark Canha and Chad Pinder, two versatile options who’ve spent time in both the outfield and infield, could fit the bill. Canha played in a total of 122 games, batting .249 with 17 HR, 52 RBI, .334 wOBA, .200 ISO, and 113 wRC+. He had some hot stretches when getting consistent playing time last year, and could do the same if given the job this season. Chad Pinder wasn’t too bad himself, hitting .258 with 13 HR, 27 RBI, .333 wOBA and 113 wRC+ in 298 at-bats. Both excelled against left-handed pitching, and are solid options to fill in for Matt Olson.
We’ll see what the A’s decide moving forward, as they’re set to play a three-game exhibition series with the Giants starting Sunday. Off to an 0-2 start after suffering a sweep by the Mariners in Japan, they will begin their first regular season series in the U.S. on Thursday against the Angels.
Photo Source: AP Photo