Athletics

A's outfielder Stephen Piscotty undergoes MRI on sprained right ankle

A's outfielder Stephen Piscotty undergoes MRI on sprained right ankle

OAKLAND -- Just when the A's outfield appeared to be nearing a return to full health, Oakland manager Bob Melvin announced on Sunday that starting right fielder Stephen Piscotty had aggravated his sprained right ankle and had to undergo an MRI.

Piscotty initially sprained the ankle last Saturday on an awkward slide back into second base on a pickoff attempt. He has played through the ailment since then but was seen in a walking boot Sunday morning.

"It got a little better, a little worse, and then last night he took a swing where it really bothered him," Melvin said. "He had an MRI this morning. We're waiting on the results of that. I don't have a great feeling about it at this point, but we'll see what the doctors have to say and then proceed accordingly."

Piscotty, 28, missed all of July with a sprained right knee but returned from the injured list in early August. Unfortunately, center fielder Ramón Laureano then went on the IL with a stress reaction in his right shin. Now with Laureano nearing a return, it appears Piscotty might miss some time again.

The good news for the A's is that they have plenty of outfield depth. Mark Canha filled in for Piscotty when he was out with the knee sprain and figures to take over right field again when Laureano returns to center. Robbie Grossman and Chad Pinder should continue to split time in left.

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Piscotty is slashing .252/.312/.416 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI in 92 games this year. He's in the third season of his six-year, $33.5 million contract, originally signed with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Tanner Roark pitching his way out of A's potential MLB playoff rotation

Tanner Roark pitching his way out of A's potential MLB playoff rotation

OAKLAND -- Tanner Roark got off to a great start with the A's after coming over from Cincinnati in a July 31 trade. The right-hander went 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in his first six starts with Oakland.

Unfortunately for Roark, his last three starts have been a completely different story. The 32-year-old has allowed 14 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings for an ERA of 8.79.

Sunday's outing against the Rangers was Roark's worst of the season. He surrendered a career-high four home runs and gave up five earned runs in just three innings, as Texas breezed to an 8-3 win.

"(This loss) is on me," Roark said after the game. "It was a rough outing altogether. (They were) putting good swings on bad pitches. I left the ball over the plate a lot of times and when you do that in this league, they get hit hard and they get hit far."

A's manager Bob Melvin offered insight into what happened to Roark.

"They were just on him early," Melvin said. "A lot of times, when you have a chance (against) a good starter, it's early in the game. They got him before he could get into his rhythm and hit some balls out of the ballpark. ... It doesn't minimize our feeling about Tanner. He's been great for us."

While that may have been true last month, it's not quite the case anymore. In nine starts with the A's, Roark has a 4.50 ERA. At this point, he seems unlikely to be in the starting rotation if Oakland reaches the American League Division Series, especially considering how well the team's other starters have pitched.

Sean Manaea and Mike Fiers have been excellent, while Homer Bailey has looked phenomenal in his last seven starts. That likely leaves Roark, Brett Anderson, and Chris Bassitt battling for the No. 4 job.

[RELATED: How Melvin will utilize bullpen down stretch]

Even if the A's elect to keep Bassitt in the bullpen, Anderson has been far more consistent than Roark, allowing three earned runs or fewer in six straight starts.

The A's still have six games remaining in the regular season, which means Roark might get one more chance to make a better statement. But as of now, he has to be the odd man out.

Why Rangers manager Chris Woodward likes A's chances in MLB playoffs

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USATSI

Why Rangers manager Chris Woodward likes A's chances in MLB playoffs

OAKLAND -- Count Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward among those who believe in the Oakland A's this postseason.

Woodward had plenty of compliments for the Green and Gold ahead of Sunday's series finale, as reported by MLB.com's Martín Gallegos.

It certainly makes sense that Woodward is impressed by the A's. After all, Oakland has won 13 of 18 games against the Rangers this season, including the last seven. Through two games this weekend, the A's have outscored Texas 20-3.

Oakland is also playing its best baseball of the season at the right time. The A's have won 10 of their last 11 games and 15 of their last 18.

[RELATED: How A's will use bullpen down stretch]

Still, Oakland's path to a potential World Series will be treacherous. If they can get past the wild-card round, the A's will likely have to beat the Astros, Yankees, and Dodgers in succession.

But it's nice to know that Chris Woodward has faith.