Outfield injuries

By Jason Wojciechowski on April 13, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Last night, I was at a sausage place in Atwater Village having a beer and a sausage with my wife and a friend of ours from college. The Lakers game was on TV and the Warriors were doing things to LA that the Warriors shouldn't do—it's not in the nature of the relationship between these two teams. (I'm a Lakers fan, note, and I hope that doesn't make you close my blog forevermore.) The Lakers were storming back behind Kobe Bryant hitting deep threes and generally doing Kobe Bryant things, though, when suddenly Kobe went down to the floor hard. It didn't look good. He left the game. The Lakers won, but news came out that Kobe has very likely torn his Achilles, an injury that's got a six-month timetable associated with it, a six-month timetable that means that any setbacks could have an impact not only on the Lakers' already meager chances in the postseason this year but on the 2013-14 season as well. For a team with the kind of window that L.A. has, with an aging core, that's not a good outcome.

Can you compare a Yoenis Cespedes hand injury in a game the A's eventually won in 12 innings on a walk-off oppo taco by Josh Donaldson to Kobe's Achilles tear? You could, I guess, if Cespedes were knocked out for two months, but from all indications, he's just ("just") got a strain of some sort and will be out the minimum 15 days after being placed on the disabled list. That's the silver lining, the fact that the injury isn't worse, but with the A's training staff already probably monitoring Josh Reddick's wrist and Coco Crisp feeling some groin issues, the last thing the team needs is another outfielder hampered by injury, especially when said outfielder is easily the best player on the team.

With Crisp also out, the A's have options. Chris Young is presumably the everyday center fielder and Josh Reddick won't sit, either. That means left, first, and DH will be covered by Brandon Moss, Nate Freiman, Seth Smith, and the newly recalled Michael Taylor. I suspect that the default lineup will have Moss at first, Smith at DH, and Taylor in left, with Freiman getting a day at DH or 1B here and there against lefties.

When Crisp comes back to center, I would guess that we'll see Young shifting to left, pushing Taylor to a pure backup role, perhaps pinch-hitting against lefties for Smith or Moss.

All of this illustrates yet again the A's depth and why Billy Beane was willing to trade Cliff Pennington for yet another outfielder. Crisp has been injury-prone for years and Cespedes showed signs of fragility last year, so having Young around to play any of the outfield spots is a real salve. If Young's position were taken by, say, Collin Cowgill, I wouldn't feel nearly so blase about the next two weeks minus Cespedes (and the next few days minus Cespedes and Crisp). The team is worse without question, but it's not so much worse over that short period that I feel the need to worry.

If there's a worry, it's that second base is going to be a black hole from here to eternity. The outfield? Small potatoes.

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