ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Catcher Josh Phegley received a cortisone injection for soreness in his right knee and could be out for this weekend’s series at Tampa Bay, adding to the growing list of injuries for the A’s.
The news appears more serious for first baseman Mark Canha, who could be facing hip surgery that would end his season should he decide on that course of action.
Phegley’s injury necessitated the promotion of Matt McBride from Triple-A Nashville, a versatile player who is primarily a catcher but can also play the outfield and first base if needed. A’s manager Bob Melvin went so far as to say McBride could draw two starts for this weekend’s series at Tampa Bay – one behind the plate and one at first base.
It stands to reason that Melvin might want veteran Stephen Vogt catching struggling ace Sonny Gray on Sunday, so figure the right-handed hitting McBride could be looking at a start behind the plate Saturday and then play first base against Rays left-hander Matt Moore on Sunday.
Phegley’s knee injury dates back to the series in Toronto, when he slid head-first at first base trying to beat out an infield hit, according to A’s head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta. Phegley has caught a few games since then.
“Then he caught that 3-hour, 45-minute game in Boston (on Monday) and had some significant discomfort and soreness in the back of his knee at that time,” Paparesta said.
Canha could be looking at a much more lengthy road back. He’s dealing with a femoroacetabular impingement in his left hip, which is tied to the back soreness he’s been experiencing of late. An MRI showed no damage to the labrum, which is positive news, but were he to opt for surgery to fix the impingement, Paparesta said the recovery would sideline Canha for the rest of the season.
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He is traveling to Colorado to seek a second opinion from Dr. Marc Philippon, the specialist who performed Tim Lincecum’s surgery last September. Lincecum had an impingement relieved but also had a labrum tear in addition. The alternative is to try to rehab the hip without surgery after receiving an injection, but that decision is being saved until after Canha’s appointment in Colorado.
The A’s did get a bit of good news on the injury front Friday, as third baseman Danny Valencia returned to the lineup from a left hamstring injury. That allowed Yonder Alonso to shift back over to first base after spelling Valencia at third for the past two games.
Alonso committed an error and made another miscue or two in his time at third, but his overall body of work impressed Melvin. Alonso has past history at third from earlier in his career but not so much in recent years.
“We know that, in-game wise now, we’re not putting a guy over there who’s completely out of position,” Melvin said.
Reliever Liam Hendriks, on the D.L. with a triceps strain, also had an MRI and will be shut down from throwing until the A’s return home from this road trip. Paparesta said the hope is to have Hendriks playing catch sometime next week.
Second baseman Jed Lowrie, out with a shin contusion, is no longer on crutches but still has not resumed baseball activity.