6:50PM: Manaea’s problem only arose today while the southpaw was playing catch, manager Bob Melvin told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser and other media. Manaea will undergo an MRI, and has already left the A’s on their road trip to head back to Oakland for further examination.
It’s unknown if Manaea will miss any time beyond the 10-day window, though it’s clear the location of the injury is alarming, and it likely helps explain his recent dip in velocity. This development is all the more troubling for the Athletics given both Manaea’s importance to their rotation and the fact that they’re fighting for a playoff spot. Oakland will enter play Sunday four games up on AL West rival Seattle for the league’s second wild-card spot and just 1 1/2 behind the division-leading Astros.
A good portion of the A’s unexpected success this season has come thanks to the 26-year-old Manaea, who easily leads the team in starts (27) and innings (161 2/3). Along the way, Manaea has pitched to a 3.59 ERA/4.25 FIP with 6.05 K/9, 1.79 BB/9 and a 44 percent groundball rate. His DL placement continues a run of poor injury luck in the A’s starting staff, which is also without Jharel Cotton, A.J. Puk, Andrew Triggs, Kendall Graveman and Paul Blackburn and has seen Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson miss extended periods of time. As a result of that slew of injuries, Manaea had been the last man standing from Oakland’s season-opening staff, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle points out.
Despite its myriad injuries, the A’s patchwork rotation – which currently includes Cahill, Anderson, Mike Fiers, Edwin Jackson and Chris Bassitt – has fared decently this year. Oakland’s starters have managed to bridge the gap to a quality bullpen, ranking 16th in the majors in both ERA (4.04) and fWAR (7.7). Fiers has made positive contributions to those numbers since the A’s added him in a trade with the Tigers on Aug. 6, and his acquisition now looks all the more timely in the wake of Manaea’s injury.