SAN FRANCISCO -– Billy Burns felt good enough to take swings in the batting cage Saturday morning, and the A’s outfielder expected to be available off the bench for an afternoon game against the Giants.
Burns suffered a testicular contusion in Friday’s game when he hit a foul ball that bounced up and struck him. He said he still had some soreness, but both he and manager Bob Melvin expect that he’ll return to the starting lineup Sunday. Sam Fuld is playing center field in his place, with shortstop Marcus Semien leading off Saturday against Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.
Burns does not wear a protective cup. Many outfielders don’t since they’re typically not as susceptible to taking a shot in that part of the body, the way infielders and catchers might be. Even after Friday night’s injury, Burns said he wouldn’t start wearing a cup.
“It gets in the way of my running,” said the leadoff man. “I’m not gonna change the way I play.”
The issue previously surfaced in 2009, when a bad-hop grounder struck then-Seattle Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre in the same area. Beltre, who plays a much higher-risk position for such an injury, declined to wear one after his injury as well.
“That’s a personal choice,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said, addressing the topic in a delicate manner. “I think a catcher should.”
Melvin is a former catcher himself, keep in mind.
If anything approaches the agony of suffering such an injury, it’s having to discuss it afterward with reporters. But Burns was good natured about it Saturday morning, even flashing some humor.
“I’ll just hope and pray it doesn’t happen again,” he said, “or just be a better hitter.”
Melvin said closer Sean Doolittle would throw off the mound Thursday, a big step to gauge how his strained left shoulder is coming along.
There is still no date yet for outfielder Coco Crisp (neck strain) to begin a rehab assignment.