The A’s confirmed after Monday night's loss at Texas that second baseman Jed Lowrie will have season-ending toe surgery.
Lowrie has been sidelined nearly two weeks with a bunion on his left big toe, and he’s been seeking the opinion of different specialists to decide a course of action. Surgery, the recovery for which will last beyond the end of the regular season, always has been an option, but one that Lowrie and the A’s were hoping to avoid.
Re-acquired last winter after spending 2013-14 with Oakland, the 32-year-old Lowrie served as the A’s primary No. 2 hitter most of the season and hit .263 with two home runs and 27 RBI. He is signed through next season, set to earn $6.5 million, and the A’s hold a $6 million club option on him for 2018 with a $1 million buyout.
Lowrie said on the last homestand that he’d been playing through pain in his foot for about a month. He went on the DL on Aug. 5.
“I began feeling symptoms about a month ago,” Lowrie said. “I took a swing and felt a pop. I’ve just been trying to manage it ever since then. I was hoping symptoms would get better but they just haven’t.”
Max Muncy and Tyler Ladendorf have been platooning at second base in his absence, and it will be interesting to see if the A’s bring up any infield prospects and give them a look at second after rosters expand Sept. 1.
Arismendy Alcantara, a speedy switch hitter, has gotten two looks with the big club already since being acquired June 9 from the Cubs for Chris Coghlan. Also at Triple-A Nashville, the A’s have Joey Wendle, who was acquired in the Brandon Moss trade of December 2014 but has yet to earn a call-up. Wendle has been the Sounds’ primary second baseman this year.
Chad Pinder, the A’s No. 6 prospect on Baseball America’s midseason rankings, has played second base in previous seasons but has been Nashville’s main shortstop in 2016. Some scouts see Double-A shortstop Franklin Barreto, Oakland’s top prospect, as a future second baseman. Though he’s played some second base this season, he’s spent most of the year on the left side of the diamond.
Sean Doolittle, coming back from a shoulder strain, made his first rehab appearance with Nashville on Monday and threw a scoreless inning with one hit and one strikeout against Reno. A’s manager Bob Melvin has said the plan is for Doolittle to make three minor league appearances before possibly being activated.
After coming within one out of a perfect game for Nashville in his last start, right-hander Jharel Cotton didn’t allow a base runner until surrendering a fifth-inning home run Monday night. He allowed three runs and four hits over 5 2/3 innings against Reno.