The Athletics had to fly home without Chris Bassitt, leaving the starter in Chicago to undergo surgery next week if his consultation with a plastic surgeon on Monday goes well.
As tough as that was, knowing Bassitt was OK made the flight more bearable. Now, the A’s have to move forward and plan as though he won't be able to return to the mound this season.
“I think everybody was just relieved to see him yesterday morning in the clubhouse,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said on Friday. “He was in there for a while, like until the third or fourth inning. That felt normal. Took a little while to get used to looking at him and the fashion he’s at, but today I saw pictures today, and he made a really good improvement today as far as how he looked. The swelling on the side of the face, the eye was starting to open up more so, if he can continue to have progress like that, it expedites and speeds up the recovery time.”
Bassitt was struck by a line drive off the bat of Chicago White Sox outfielder Brian Goodwin on Tuesday, landing on the 10-day Injured List with lacerations and facial fractures.
The A’s understand they need to plan on a season without him, but knowing Bassitt, he will try to make it back at some point.
“You do have to plan that way, but I don’t think that Bassitt thinks, Chris thinks the season’s over by any stretch,” Melvin said. “We kind of briefly brought it up when I was talking to him. It’s not something I really wanted to talk to him about at that point, because we just really wanted to make sure he was OK, gets through his surgery, but it is on his mind to get back this season.”
Paul Blackburn was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas after Bassitt’s injury, and in 5 1/3 innings against the White Sox on Wednesday, he struck out three. He will get another start against the Seattle Mariners in their two-game series beginning Monday, A’s general manager David Forst said on A’s Cast on Friday.
“Now, once he goes through the surgery, we’re going to have to go to maybe square one a little bit, it was great to see him look like he did today and obviously great to see him in the clubhouse yesterday,” Melvin said.
Bassitt surprised the team by showing up to the clubhouse on Thursday during the 5-4 win against the White Sox. Melvin said not everyone knew Bassitt would come to see the team, but immediately noticed a change of energy when he arrived.
“Everybody’s mood just seemed to pick up,” Melvin said. “Not only carried over during the course of that game, but afterwards, the next day as well. This is a guy that everybody seems really close to, one of the leaders on our team. It was really nice to see him.”
Melvin added if anyone could speed through the process, it would be Bassitt.
Brian Schulman, one of the A’s assistant trainers will be with Bassitt while all doctor's appointments happen in Chicago, then hopefully soon after, he can come back to Oakland.