March 17: The A’s announced today that Smolinski underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair his labrum in addition to a bursectomy procedure. Smolinski will be in a sling for the next four weeks and, presumably, will face a fairly substantial rehab program following that first phase of his recovery.
March 14: Athletics outfielder Jake Smolinski is headed for shoulder surgery, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle is among those to report. It’s not yet known what procedure will be performed, as that’ll have to wait until surgeons take a peek inside.
It’s a tough break for the 28-year-old, who seemed primed to receive a solid opportunity to establish himself in the majors this year. Smolinski has ramped up his MLB action in each of the last three seasons, culminating with 319 plate appearances in 2016.
That’s not to say that Smolinski had fully locked down a role. After all, he slashed just .238/.299/.345 in the majors last year and faced some spring competition. But the organization clearly likes his low-strikeout approach and quality numbers against southpaws, which seemingly made him a favorite to take a platoon assignment with a chance to earn more playing time over the course of the year.
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In Smolinski’s stead, it seems likely that the organization will go with another internal option, as Joe Stiglich of CSN California notes on Twitter. Veteran Alejandro De Aza could be the beneficiary of the injury, though he’ll have to hold off players such as fellow non-roster invitees Chris Parmelee, Andrew Lambo, and Jaff Decker.