Athletics right-hander Mason Miller is flying to Dallas today and will get a second opinion on his forearm tightness on Tuesday, reports Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. Miller had been placed on the 15-day injured list with the issue last week.
It’s still unclear what exactly is ailing Miller and what the severity is, though it’s a bit ominous that he’s seeking a second opinion since it would seem to suggest the first opinion had at least some level of concern. The further examination in the coming days will undoubtedly lead to more clarity on the situation and what the next steps are.
The A’s made the aggressive decision to promote Miller, 24, to the big leagues last month despite a very limited professional track record. He was drafted in 2021 and made three Complex League outings late in that year, then a shoulder strain limited him to just six outings across different minor league levels in 2022. He then tossed 16 2/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League but still came into 2023 having tallied less than 40 frames since being drafted.
Nonetheless, his stuff was clearly enticing, including a triple digit fastball along with a slider and changeup that were also well regarded. Since the A’s were dealing with injuries and underperformance throughout their pitching staff, they decided to give Miller a shot against big league hitters. He’s generally responded well so far, posting a 3.38 ERA through 21 1/3 innings over four starts, striking out 25.9% of opponents against an 8.2% walk rate.
Unfortunately, his acclimation to the majors has been put on hold. It was a week ago that Miller was put under evaluation, with manager Mark Kotsay suggesting that the discomfort seemed to be in his flexor muscle rather than a ligament issue, though the continued testing this week will hopefully help them to zero in on a concrete diagnosis.
Elsewhere on the A’s roster, first baseman/outfielder Seth Brown seems to have suffered a setback in his attempt to return to the club. He’s been on the injured list for over a month due to an oblique strain and began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas on the weekend, though Kawahara relays that Brown was removed from his first game of that rehab assignment. He is now heading back to Oakland to have the issue re-evaluated.
Brown, 30, has established himself as a key piece of the Oakland lineup in recent years. He hit 20 home runs in 2021 and added another 25 last year, hitting a combined .224/.294/.457 in those seasons for a wRC+ of 112. He was off to a slow start this year in a tiny sample of eight games before landing on the injured list. It’s unclear if he’s re-aggravated his injury in some kind of serious way but it’s notable that there’s enough concern for him to leave Vegas for Oakland and further testing.
The two pieces of news are a bit more gloom for a club that is off to a miserable 9-33 start and is actively pursuing a move to Las Vegas. Miller’s ascendency was one of the few positive stories for the A’s so far this year while Brown was one of the only solid everyday players that had yet to be traded away as part of their recent roster teardown. These two updates just add a bit more worry for the clubs and its fans, though more information still needs to come to light in both cases.
A’s Mason Miller is just impressive… Let’s hope this is not conducive to a TJS… Seth Brown is needed too but I guess we would have to wait
A bit more to see him back in the A’s lineup…
MaMi should have been on a hard 75 pitch limit day one. He’s barely thrown any innings the last 2 years, need to build up his endurance.
Seeking a second opinion is not a good sign.
On the bright side, Luis Medina looked better in his 2nd start last week.
Also, Ryan Cusick is pitching well in Double-A. He might reach the Majors by year-end.
Miller and Medina are a nice 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation that any team (except the 2 SP factories in CLE/TB) would dream on.
Cusick seems destined for the pen which is fine cause they need a lot of help there.
Many pitchers having arm issues. But A’s pitchers and former A’s, seem on the high side.
Translation, the first doctor said TJS is recommended so let’s see if we can avoid that.
His first exam was completed by Dr. Jerry (of Golden Girls fame). Dr. Jerry asked Miller to say “ah” while he injected a tongue depressor and declared, “Yep, he needs Tommy John!”
Or like Dangerfield’s doctor when you tell him you’d like a second opinion: “Okay, you’re ugly too”
Next update: Mason Miller to undergo Tommy Johns.
The disconcerting thing about Tommy John surgery is that we have had many years to study this problem and we have no more answers to solve it than we did 20 years ago.
Because the answer is something no one wants to do: pitch limits of 50 for every pitcher under 18. Wait til the arm is fully developed before stretching out.
And no curveballs until 16.