A’s pitchers and catchers reported to Mesa, Ariz. on Wednesday, but without one pitcher and catcher.
Oakland starter Frankie Montas is “dealing with COVID,” manager Bob Melvin said on Wednesday, and catcher Sean Murphy will be late to spring training after undergoing surgery two weeks ago due to a collapsed lung.
Melvin said Montas will be delayed in arriving at camp.
“He’s several days into it, he does feel the effects of it, he has some symptoms -- more flu-like than anything else at this point, unfortunately, he’s going to be a little behind,” Melvin said.
Prior to the official report date, players had to quarantine for a mandatory five days at home before arriving at camp.
MLB’s latest safety protocols state that if an individual tests positive, they must isolate for a minimum of 10 days and receive the appropriate care and monitoring from the club’s medical staff. They then must be cleared by the Joint Committee and then have a mandatory cardiac evaluation to determine that the individual no longer presents a risk of infecting others.
This appears just to be a delay, but Murphy’s scenario is more up in the air.
Murphy had woken up and wasn’t breathing well before heading to the hospital.
“The prognosis as we sit here sounds good,” Melvin said. “Our training staff believes we’ll get him here in time in spring at some point, obviously a little bit delayed, but the timetable is for him to be ready for Opening Day. It sounds pretty dramatic and it certainly did to me as well, but the procedure went well and the prognosis is good.”
Murphy being ready for the April 1 start date will be the goal.
The trade that sent catcher Jonah Heim to the Texas Rangers on Feb. 6 was tough for the organization to swallow, but Melvin felt comfortable with it knowing they had strong backups behind Murphy.
“We’re comfortable where we are in the catching position right now, or like I said, we wouldn’t have included Heim,” Melvin said.
For now, Austin Allen and Aramis Garcia, who was acquired in the Rangers trade, will get reps behind the plate. A’s 2020 No. 26 overall draft pick Tyler Soderstrom looks to get some spring action at catcher as well.
Last season, Murphy batted .233/.364/.457 with seven home runs in 43 games. He also showed off some series power and was fourth in AL Rookie of the Year voting.
Other injury notes/updates:
- A’s third baseman Matt Chapman is ready to go after undergoing hip surgery last season. All rehab and baseball activity is going well so far
- Pitcher A.J. Puk is on the usual timeline to return for spring training and was scheduled to throw on Wednesday. Melvin said he’s not sure if Puk will be a starter or in a reliever role yet.
- Reliever Burch Smith “feels good,” Melvin said. Smith had a strained forearm issue last season and was shut down early in August.