The A's badly miss Chad Pinder, and it doesn't sound like he's returning to the lineup in the near future.
"I don't expect him back anytime soon," A's manager Bob Melvin said Monday morning on MLB Network Radio. "It's a knee injury that's a little worse than we were anticipating.
"He's a tough guy, he tweaked it a little bit and then was playing on and had another play in right field where he had to jump up and came down on it wrong."
Pinder was removed early from the A's loss to the Houston Astros on April 4 when he made a spectacular catch in right field but crashed into the wall. He was later placed on the 10-day IL with a left knee sprain.
While the injury occurred early in the season, it couldn't have come at a worse time. Pinder hit .356 with three home runs in 19 spring training games and carried that hot stick to the regular season. Known for being versatile defensively, Pinder was one of the A's best hitters at the beginning of the season.
He was hitting .300 with one home runs through his first four games this season.
"Not only is he a Swiss Army knife, he's one of the few guys who was really swinging the bat well at the beginning of the season," Melvin said. "To lose him really hurts. We look forward to getting him back, whether it's a couple more weeks or whatever, I'm not really sure. We're just gonna have to buy our time and give other guys opportunities.
"We definitely look forward to getting him back. What he accomplished at the end of last year and in the postseason and early this year, this is kind of primetime for Chad Pinder."
Pinder has turned into a very important piece for the A's success. That was clear as ever in the playoffs last season when he hit .318 with two homers. His improved offense spilled over to this season as the utility man brings multiple gloves to the ballpark every day.
The wait might be longer than the A's hoped, but it will be worth it when they can get Pinder back on the field.