The Oakland Athletics will be without their Gold Glove first baseman for the foreseeable future, as the team announced that Matt Olson underwent hand surgery on Friday.
Upon the team’s return from Japan, Olson flew to Los Angeles and had a procedure performed by Dr. Steven Shin that included a hamate excision.
Though the team did not indicate a specific recovery time, hamate surgery usually sidelines players for 6-8 weeks. The injury was sustained on Thursday in the fifth inning of a loss to the Seattle Mariners on a foul tip. Olson ended up singling for his first hit of the year and scored in the inning, but he did not return to the field in the next frame.
In the meantime, the A’s will certainly miss Olson’s defense and plate discipline, but the team has more than a few options to fill the spot at first base. Mark Canha filled in at the spot until being lifted for a pinch-runner, at which time Chad Pinder moved over to fill the spot. Should Franklin Barreto stay on the active roster while Olson heads to the injured list, Jurickson Profar could slide over from second base to first base.
Oakland will have no shortage of options in the lineup against left-handed pitching in Olson’s absence, as both Canha and outfielder Robbie Grossman, renowned for his on-base skills against lefties, didn’t start against southpaws in either game in Japan. If Pinder handles first base, Grossman can take left field.
The bigger challenge will be filling in Olson’s spot against right-handers. A team with very few left-handed bats to begin with already lost catcher Chris Herrmann to knee surgery, meaning that unless outfielder Dustin Fowler is called up, the team won’t have a single true left-handed bat. Of the two switch-hitters, Profar is stronger from the left side, but Olson’s career .885 OPS against righties will be missed.