Athletics

A's vs. Twins lineups: Josh Phegley returns after Chris Hermann's grand debut

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AP

A's vs. Twins lineups: Josh Phegley returns after Chris Hermann's grand debut

OAKLAND -- Chris Hermann hit a grand slam Tuesday in his first game with the A's, marking a triumphant debut and return from arthroscopic knee surgery.

That didn’t secure him a spot in Wednesday’s starting lineup. The catcher was a reserve against the Minnesota Twins, in deference to Josh Phegley setting up behind the dish.

Those two hit from different sides of the plate, but manager Bob Melvin told reporters his catchers wouldn’t operate in a straight platoon moving forward. That was clear with right-handed Phegley marching up against right-handed Twins starter Kyle Gibson.

Hermann caught all nine innings Tuesday night, so following the effort with a rest day could also be done in the name of health preservation. It also has something to do with Phegley, who deserves to play. He’s hitting .263 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs nearing the All-Star break.

Having several quality catchers is a good problem to have, and Melvin will try and find proper matchups for both players to thrive down the stretch.

Reigning Pacific Coast League player of the month Franklin Barreto makes another start at second base, which will be his regular position with Jurickson Profar in a utility role.

The Twins made a later scratch to their lineup, with designated hitter Marwin Gonzalez taken out of the third spot with a sore right big toe and replaced by Jorge Polanco.

Here are the full lineups for Wednesday’s contest between the A's and Twins, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and streaming on the MyTeams app. The pregame show begins at 5:30 p.m., with first pitch set for 6:07 p.m.

Minnesota Twins (53-31)

Max Kepler, RF
Mitch Garver, C
Jorge Polanco, DH
C.J. Cron, 1B
Luis Arraez, LF
Miguel Sanó, 3B
Ehire Adrianza, SS
Jonathan Scoop, 2B
Byron Buxton, CF

Kyle Gibson, RHP (8-4, 4.21 ERA)

[RELATED: A's prospect Luzardo leaves Triple-A start with lat tightness]

Oakland Athletics (47-39)

Marcus Semien, SS
3B Matt Chapman, 3B
Matt Olson, 1B
Khris Davis, DH
RF Mark Canha, RF
Ramón Laureano, CF
Robbie Grossman, LF
Franklin Barreto, 2B
Josh Phegley, C

Mike Fiers, RHP (8-3, 4.01)

Clean-shaven A's starter Mike Fiers reveals story behind strange beard

Clean-shaven A's starter Mike Fiers reveals story behind strange beard

In the dog days of summer, baseball players need to do things to keep the clubhouse loose.

Even if that means performing in front of 31,928 fans and thousands more on TV with the strangest beard imaginable.

That's exactly what A's starter Mike Fiers did on Saturday night in Texas.

In case you missed it, Fiers was sporting a beard that looked like the letter "G."

While the beard might have gotten some laughs from his A's teammates and fans, it didn't help Fiers, who left the game in the second inning with right arm nerve irritation. He will undergo tests after experiencing numbness in his right hand.

After the A's 8-6 win over the Rangers, the beard was gone. Fiers met with the media in Arlington and he had shaved the "G" off his face.

"I got hurt," Fiers said when asked why he shaved. "I can't continue that. Just had to shave that off. One-start thing."

As Fiers explained, the strange beard was conceived with the help of his teammates.

"Just being funny, having fun with these guys," Fiers told reporters. "It's a long season, we're in mid-September and just to give the guys a laugh, I'm kinda the guy they want to laugh at, so they dared me to do it or didn't think I'd go out and pitch with it. But I don't care."

Fiers and his teammates got their inspiration from exactly the place you would expect -- the internet.

"We were just looking up fun things to do because I was thinking about shaving my beard and starting fresh," Fiers said. "But we were thinking about something funny to do and we were searching on Google for funny beards and that was one of them that came up."

Fiers beard might have been a laughing matter, but the numbness in his hand isn't.

Before he does any more funny stuff on the field, he needs to make sure he's healthy.

A's Mike Fiers will undergo tests after hand went numb vs. Rangers

A's Mike Fiers will undergo tests after hand went numb vs. Rangers

Mike Fiers will undergo testing on his right hand Monday after part of it went numb as he delivered a pitch in Saturday's 8-6 win over the Texas Rangers.

The A's right-hander recorded the first two outs of the second inning, but on his first pitch to Rougned Odor, a cutter, he felt a shooting numbness in his hand.

"It's kind of scary," Fiers told reporters. "It's happened before, more so on my curveball. It happened to me in the game against the Yankees on a cutter -- similar thing. I had to wait for some feeling to come back in my hand. It was the same thing again today. It just happened earlier in the game."

A's manager Bob Melvin and trainer Nick Paparesta immediately went out to check on Fiers, but he stayed in the game initially. The 34-year-old proceeded to allow a two-run home run to Odor, followed by a walk to Delino DeShields, with decreased velocity in both at-bats. At that point, Melvin decided to take him out.

https://twitter.com/BrodieNBCS/status/1173039091379621888  

"You just can't be too careful with a guy like that," Melvin told reporters. "He just didn't look right to me. He looked like he was wincing a couple of times. He just wasn't comfortable. He was shaking his arm. Hopefully, this is something that works its way out."

Fiers says the pain and numbness went away after the one pitch, but it remained on his mind for the next couple of batters.

"It was just the one pitch," he said. "I threw it, my hand went numb, and I had to wait for some feeling to come back. It was more mental at that point than anything. Altering my delivery is something that you don't want to do. You can get injured further doing that."  

Melvin says it's too early to know if Fiers will be able to make his next start. The team should know more after he's checked out Monday.

"We'll see," Melvin said. "I guess there's the possibility he pitches his next time out if all is good. If not, then we'll figure something out."

Fortunately for Melvin, Oakland has amassed some excellent depth in their starting rotation. The A's have been utilizing a six-man rotation recently, which means they still have five other healthy starters, as well as one wild-card.

"We still have Luzardo in our back pocket," Melvin noted. "So we have some depth. It's a concern because (Fiers) is our number one guy. So we hope everything works its way out here in the next couple of days."