OAKLAND — An MRI on Stephen Piscotty’s left knee confirmed on Monday that the A’s outfielder had not suffered any structural damage sliding into second base Saturday night when he tried to stretch a single into a double against the Angels.
Piscotty’s injury was originally diagnosed as a left knee strain, and Monday’s MRI revealed that there was no tear, a relief to manager Bob Melvin, who feared that his starting right fielder might have suffered a much more serious injury.
“We caught a serious break,” Melvin said. “Seeing the slide and seeing his face on the field and taking him off, I had it across my mind that he might be out for the season, but it’s not going to be that.”
Still, Piscotty will miss significant time rehabbing his knee, a process that Melvin estimated would take around a month. With Piscotty moving to the injured list, the A’s called up utility player Franklin Barreto from Triple-A Las Vegas on Sunday.
The former A’s top prospect is hitting .358, with 42 runs, 10 homers and 39 RBIs in his last 40 games with the Aviators. Barreto will get the start Tuesday at second base while Mark Canha will take the field in right in Piscotty’s absence.
The latest callup for Barreto represents a real opportunity for the 23-year-old middle infielder, as Oakland plans to use him as its primary second baseman, rather than merely as a spot starter.
“We talked with the front office when we brought him up that we need to give [Barreto] some consistent at-bats,” Melvin said. “He’s never really had that at the big league level.”
Melvin went on to clarify what the promotion means for Jurickson Profar.
“It doesn’t mean that Jurickson’s not going to play at all, but Frankie’s probably going to get the majority of time at second, not necessarily every single day, but I think this is a great opportunity for him,” he said.
Chris Herrmann will also make his first start behind the plate today after missing the first 85 games of the season to recover from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in March. During a 13-game rehab stint in Las Vegas, the left-handed-hitting catcher looked like the player the A’s were hoping for when they signed him to a one-year, $1 million contract this offseason, hitting .333 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.
Left-hander Sean Manaea threw a 30-pitch bullpen before Tuesday’s game. Melvin said that the team plans to have him throw one more bullpen and if he feels good, send him back out for assignment. Oakland’s ace in 2018, Manaea underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in September.
Finally, Melvin took time before the game to express his condolences for the Angels in the wake of the untimely death of 27-year-old pitcher Tyler Skaggs on Monday. His last start came against Oakland.
“We’ll have heavy hearts here for them,” Melvin said. “Every so often this happens, unfortunately, in baseball and everybody feels it but I’m sure they’re having a really tough time over there in Anaheim and we feel for those guys.”