Athletics

A's top prospect Jesús Luzardo has Grade 2 lat strain; no timetable for return

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Ali Thanawalla/NBCSBA

A's top prospect Jesús Luzardo has Grade 2 lat strain; no timetable for return

OAKLAND – The A's received some unwelcome news regarding their best pitching prospect Wednesday.

Jesús Luzardo suffered a Grade 2 strain of his latissimus dorsi muscle, the team announced, ending the prospect of him joining the MLB club in the near future.

A Wednesday MRI revealed the diagnosis. The A’s said there is no timetable for his return.

Luzardo was pulled four innings into a Tuesday start for Triple-A Las Vegas after experiencing tightness in the latissimus dorsi, a muscle that extends down the side of the back.

A Grade 2 strain is considered moderate on a three-point scale. According to an injury glossary on the MLB website, Grade 2 latissimus dorsi strains usually take a month of recovery at least. That references a return to action, which will surely happen in the minors with a series of starts to ramp up and stretch out. 

That’s surely disappointing for player and team, especially considering the possibility the left-hander could have joined Oakland's rotation in the near future.

[RELATED: A's will give Treinen 'soft landing' in return to closing]

Baseball America ranked him the No. 7 overall prospect this spring, and he could’ve started this season with the A's if not for a strained shoulder.

That ailment slowed his rapid ascent. This new, unrelated injury setback is another blow that will postpone his impact on the MLB club further into the future.

Is nightmare eighth one bad night for A's bullpen or cause for concern?

Is nightmare eighth one bad night for A's bullpen or cause for concern?

OAKLAND -- After allowing just six runs in the first six games of the homestand, the A's bullpen imploded Saturday night in a 10-5 loss to the rival Giants.

Oakland's pen surrendered eight runs in a nightmare eighth inning, the most the A's have given up in a single inning all season long, as they watched a 4-2 lead turn into a 10-4 deficit.

After Jake Diekman retired the first batter in the eighth, Yusmeiro Petit, A.J. Puk, and Lou Trivino combined to allow seven straight batters to reach base on six hits and a walk.

"We just couldn't get an out," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "Yusi (Petit) is usually really reliable for us -- not that they hit really hard balls off him -- but three straight hits, which is a little abnormal with him. ... Lou has been pitching really well. Give them credit. They went the other way. They didn't try to do too much. They shot the ball the other way on the sinker and put some really good at-bats together. It felt like we didn't get an out for about an hour."

Melvin did consider turning to closer Liam Hendriks in that eighth inning but ultimately didn't want to use him for a five-out save.

"I had him up," Melvin said. "If we got one more out, I was going to use him for four (outs). I wasn't comfortable with five, especially because we're in a tie game at that point in time too when we bring in Lou, so it just didn't make any sense to do that."

Of course, any major-league bullpen needs more than one pitcher a manager can rely on. While Oakland's pen has obviously had its share of struggles this season, it appeared to be returning to form in the last few weeks. The question now is whether this was just one bad night or a cause for deeper concern.

"It's just one game," said A's starter Chris Bassitt, who allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings. "We can try to make this a huge deal kind of thing, but it's just one game. Lick your wounds, come in tomorrow and do your job."

Melvin echoed that sentiment.

"I think we just have to move on," he said. N"ow it was pretty extreme. What did they get, seven or eight hits in a row or something like that? Maybe a walk mixed in there too. (That) doesn't happen often, so you've got to give them some credit too. I think we've just got to move on from this one. We've played pretty well up to this point. We just had basically a bad inning today."

[RELATED: Manaea dominates in rehab outing]

The A's have now blown 23 saves this season, tied for the most in the American League. Oakland has also lost seven games when leading after seven innings, compared to just two all of last year.

Still, as Melvin noted, the team has played excellent baseball on this homestand, entering Sunday's finale with a 6-2 record against some of the league's best teams. But you have to wonder if and when all of these blown leads will start to take a toll on the bullpen's confidence.
 

A's vs. Giants lineups: Madison Bumgarner starts in Bay Bridge Series

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USATSI

A's vs. Giants lineups: Madison Bumgarner starts in Bay Bridge Series

OAKLAND -- The A's and Giants renew their annual Bay Bridge Series on Saturday night as the two rivals square off at the Oakland Coliseum for the first game of a two-game series.

Oakland and San Francisco split two games last week at Oracle Park, with Madison Bumgarner and Homer Bailey each coming away with a victory.

Bumgarner takes the hill again for the Giants on Saturday. The 30-year-old left-hander is 8-8 this season with a 3.72 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 27 starts. Bumgarner limited the A's to one run on two hits in seven innings last Tuesday night. In eight career starts against Oakland, he is 5-2 with a 4.32 ERA.

The A's will counter with right-hander Chris Bassitt. The 30-year-old is 9-5 with a 3.61 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 21 starts this year. Bassitt has only faced the Giants once in his career, allowing two runs in six innings back in 2015.

Former A's catcher Stephen Vogt returns to Oakland as a member of the Giants. He will bat second and serve as San Francisco's designated hitter.

Oakland's lineup features just one left-handed hitter, first baseman Matt Olson, as they try to beat Bumgarner. The A's are 22-10 against southpaws this season.

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Giants game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California (A's), NBC Bay Area (Giants) and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 6:07.

San Francisco Giants (63-65)
Mike Yastrzemski, RF
Stephen Vogt, DH
Buster Posey, C
Alex Dickerson, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Brandon Belt, 1B
Kevin Pillar, CF
Scooter Gennett, 2B
Brandon Crawford, SS

Madison Bumgarner, LHP (8-8, 3.72 ERA)

Oakland A's (74-53)
Marcus Semien, SS
Matt Chapman, 3B
Matt Olson, 1B
Mark Canha, CF
Stephen Piscotty, RF
Chad Pinder, LF
Khris Davis, DH
Jurickson Profar, 2B
Josh Phegley, C

Chris Bassitt, RHP (9-5, 3.61 ERA)