OAKLAND — Athletics starting pitcher Marco Estrada, who missed his start Monday night because of back pain, will miss at least one more after undergoing a procedure for pain relief.
More of a short-term concern for the Athletics is set-up reliever Lou Trivino, who has a thumb injury and may or may not be ready for the upcoming nine-game road trip to Toronto, Boston and Pittsburgh.
Already on the 10-day injured list, Estrada’s absence will exceed that date. A’s trainer Nick Paparesta said Tuesday Estrada would have no baseball activities for at least seven days.
Chris Bassitt, who threw five scoreless innings in his place in a 6-1 win over the Texas Rangers, will get at least one more start in Estrada’s spot in the rotation.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said the procedure was an “ablation,” which is described as a minimally invasive procedure that destroys nerve fibers carrying pain signals to the brain. Estrada has had back issues dating back to 2016.
“It’s still kind of undetermined as far as how it goes with him,” Melvin said. “He’s dealt with this before, so maybe some other guys you might say it’s going to be a longer period of time but it still depends on how he feels.”
Trivino, meanwhile, injured the thumb on his throwing hand while playing catch before Sunday’s game against Toronto and hasn’t pitched since throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings against Houston on April 17. Trivino is unscored on in 11 of 12 outings and has allowed just six hits and one walk.
The reliever was working out in the field with his thumb taped, wasn’t available to pitch Tuesday and probably not Wednesday either. The A’s have an off-day Thursday before beginning their road trip in Toronto.
“(He) bent the nail back a little bit, cut the finger underneath the nail,” Melvin said. “We’re trying to figure out how long this is going to be. We’re kind of in a holding pattern right now.”
The A’s already made a move with the bullpen Monday in bringing up Ryan Dull from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioning left-handed reliever Ryan Buchter.
“It’s not the greatest timing, but (Trivino) is that important to where if you think he’s going to pitch before a 10-day period, than you’re going to try and hold on as long as you can,” Melvin said. “We’ll see where he’s at. Will probably be more of an off-day decision to see how we are.”
Kaval on attendance, signing Khris Davis
A’s president David Kaval, meeting with the media to discuss the agreement of the club to purchase Alameda County’s share of the Coliseum site, put the best face possible on the current attendance figures.
The Athletics drew a season low 8,073 fans to Monday night’s win over the Texas Rangers. They currently rank 19th in major league baseball with an average of 20,326 and nine times have drawn fewer than 20,000 fans.
The season-high crowd of 31,140 for Saturday’s game against Toronto coincided with a Matt Chapman bobblehead giveaway. The other two games against the Blue Jays drew 15,128 and 16,015 despite having a 2-for-1 ticket offer all weekend to celebrate the signing of designated hitter Khris Davis to a two-year contract extension.
“The people that are here, the fan base, they have a great time,” Kaval said. “We’re focused on making sure when folks are here, they have the best possible experience.”
Kaval said the goal is that new fans and members of the A’s discount “Access” packages will “migrate with us into the new building so we can have an inclusive experience that’s affordable and accessible to all fans.”
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Melvin and Athletics players said following Davis’ signing they hoped it marked a new way of doing business in that the the club for years has traded young talent before it got too expensive. Kaval said the plan is to get V.P. of operations Billy Beane and general manager David Forst the resources to make more deals.
“That’s a big move, and it’s a departure from the way we’ve handled things in the past and I think it’s indicative of the way the organization is going to be run on a go forward basis,” Kaval said. “We’ve always excelled at getting great young talent here in Oakland. The problem is we haven’t been able to keep it.
“Fans haven’t been able to buy the jersey and have the name across the back. Now they can buy a Khris Davis jersey and keep it and we’re hopeful we can follow that up with additional signings.”
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— First baseman Matt Olson continued to take soft toss swings and hopes to be taking some batting practice by the end of the week. Once Olson is comfortable facing live pitching, he’ll be given a rehab assignment with the hopes of getting him back in mid-May.
— Edwin Jackson, the veteran who went 6-3 with the A’s last season, is up to 70 pitches in Arizona in a simulated game and Melvin thinks getting game work in Las Vegas is not far off.
— Second baseman Jurickson Profar was not in the starting lineup against the Rangers Tuesday night in favor of Chad Pinder. Profar, who made two sparkling defensive plays in the field Monday night, is 2-for-22 on the homestand.
Pinder, meanwhile is hitting .354 (17-for-48) with 10 runs, three doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs in April and is 4-for-13 on the homestand.
“We’re trying to give some guys some days off early in the season and he’s had only one off,” Melvin said. “With Pinder swinging well, it’s a good time to get him in there.”