As Stephen Piscotty cinched down the velcro straps of his knee brace in the Oakland Coliseum’s home clubhouse on Tuesday, the Oakland A’s outfielder was asked about how it felt being sidelined with the team having won 10 of its last 12 games.
“I’m just trying to stay out of their way,” he said, laughing.
Nearly two weeks removed from what he had feared was a career-ending injury, Piscotty is progressing in his rehab from a sprained right medial collateral ligament, passing his first test on Sunday — sprints. Piscotty will conquer cornering next, before heading out on a rehab assignment, he hopes, in seven days.
“Weird stuff can happen,” Piscotty said. “It’s a goal I’m shooting for, I’ll put it that way.”
Piscotty injured his right knee while trying to stretch a single into a double in the sixth inning of a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on June 29. Sliding into second base, he heard a pop.
”I didn’t know what that meant,” Piscotty said. “I never had a knee injury, so it kind of spooked me a little bit.”
An MRI revealed the best-case scenario: No involvement of the anterior cruciate ligament or posterior cruciate ligament, and no tears in the meniscus.
Piscotty has been hitting for four days, and ran straight-ahead sprints on Sunday down the left field line, at about 90-95%.
“I was going pretty much max effort, and I thought that it went really well and responded well the next day,” Piscotty said. “Wasn’t too sore or anything like that.”
Piscotty will run the bases on Wednesday, turning corners for the first time. When the A’s head on the road to Minnesota this weekend, Piscotty will stay behind, and meet the team when it travels to Houston on Monday to get some work in. He may head out to rehab from Houston, or go shortly thereafter.
“I’m going to start doing cuts and stuff, and that’s going to be really important,” Piscotty said. “That’s kind of what the MCL protects for, and you do that last.”
Jesus Luzardo is once again on the comeback trail.
After missing two months of the season with a strain of his supraspinatus, Luzardo had made five rehab starts beginning in mid-June, but then suffered a Grade 2 lat strain the first week of July. He is now playing catch out to 90-100 feet.
“We won’t know until he gets on the mound,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He’ll probably pitch today.”
The consensus top prospect in the organization, the 21-year old left-hander was set to make the A’s rotation out of spring training when felled by his shoulder issue. Rehabbing from the shoulder injury, he struck out 25 of the 76 men he faced in 19 1/3 innings and owned a 2.79 ERA.
Jharel Cotton, who is comingback from Tommy John surgery, gave up two hits and two runs in one relief inning for Las Vegas. Melvin said if he wants to make his big league debut this season, he’ll have to continue to perform. He does still have options, so it’s not like Oakland has to bring him up once he’s eligible to come off the disabled list.
“I think it’s all about him getting comfortable and getting multiple outings and multiple innings,” Melvin said. “But it’s also gonna be his performance that gets him here.”
Melvin said of shortstop Marcus Semien, who won the A’s Heart and Hustle Award, presented to one member of each team by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association: “It’s right on time for that. He deserves it. The work ethic, what he does in the community, all the things that would add up to that award.”