SEPTEMBER 15: Pinder’s done for the regular season with a Grade 1 hamstring strain, but the A’s are hopeful he’ll be ready for the playoffs, Slusser tweets.
SEPTEMBER 13: Pinder has been formally placed on the IL, the A’s announced. Orf’s contract was selected in a corresponding roster move.
SEPTEMBER 12: The Athletics made Chad Pinder a late scratch from the second game of tonight’s doubleheader with the Rangers, and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Pinder is likely headed to the 10-day injured list due to a right hamstring strain. A’s manager Bob Melvin confirmed the news to Slusser and other reporters this evening,
Losing a versatile bench piece like Pinder isn’t good in any circumstance, though losing him now is particularly inopportune for the A’s since Matt Chapman’s season was just ended by hip surgery. The A’s are now without both an All-Star third baseman and their top backup infielder, who likely would have been in line for a lot of work at the hot corner with Chapman gone.
Rookie Vimael Machin started third base in tonight’s nightcap, and as Slusser notes, new acquisition Tommy La Stella also has quite a bit of third base experience. Oakland picked up La Stella as a second base upgrade, but La Stella could now conceivably slide over to play third base every day, while Tony Kemp and Machin could handle second. Noted prospect Sheldon Neuse could also be called up to play either second or third, and in the event of a second base platoon, the right-handed hitting Neuse is a more logical fit for a platoon with Kemp than Machin, as both Kemp and Machin are left-handed batters.
Eric Campbell and Nate Orf are the only other infielders with MLB experience at the Athletics’ alternate training site, and either would have to be added to the 40-man roster to be called up. The A’s have an open 40-man spot already, plus Chapman or A.J. Puk (who will undergo shoulder surgery) could be moved to the 60-day IL to remove them from the 40-man and create more space for further additions, be they internal promotions or external signings.
Pinder took a .231/.286/.404 slash line into today’s play, with the utilityman also adding two homers over his 56 plate appearances. Now in his fifth season in Oakland, Pinder has contributed near-league average offensive production (a career .244/.302/.431 slash line that has resulted in a 98 wRC+ and 98 OPS+) while also playing all over the diamond at every position except pitcher and catcher.