To understand the impact Josh Reddick's fractured left thumb will have on the Athletics -- or, perhaps, to attempt to understand it, if it can be truly comprehended -- one needs to look no further than teammate Stephen Vogt.
"It's such a big loss, I'm not sure how to say what it does to us," Vogt said. "He's our guy. He's the guy in the middle of the order, he plays every day, lefties and righties, and he's consistently had good at-bats for us all year. He's the heart and soul of this team."
Reddick fractured the thumb while sliding into second base on a steal attempt in Thursday's game. He initially stayed in the game but was removed an inning later, and an X-ray after the game showed the fracture. Reddick was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday and is expected to miss four to six weeks as a result.
"Frustrating isn't even the word. I'm more pissed off than anything," Reddick said. "I was having a big year and cemented myself as the three-hole hitter for this team. I hit his cleat and really just didn't get luck with the way it went."
Fantasy owners share the 29-year-old's frustration. Long an intriguing talent, Reddick had put it all together through the season's first month and a half, owning a .322/.394/.466 line with five homers, 18 RBI, 21 runs scored and four steals. He had started 38 of the team's first 42 games.
The A's promoted Jake Smolinski and started him in right field on Friday, and Chris Coghlan also stands to see some increased playing time in Reddick's absence. But as Vogt said, the team really has no replacement for its best hitter.
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Heyward Leaves After Diving Catch
During Jason Heyward's struggles at the plate this season, one area in which he's been able to positively contribute is his defense in right field.
It was that stellar defense that may have cost him Friday. Heyward tracked down a long fly ball from Denard Span in the bottom of the first inning, making a sprawling catch on the warning track that left Heyward writhing in pain in the aftermath. The 26-year-old left the game with the help of a trainer and was being evaluated for what the team called an injury to his right torso/abdominal region.
If Heyward misses any serious time due to the injury -- the club hadn't updated his status beyond the in-game report as of this writing, but the Chicago Sun-Times said Heyward had X-rays taken Friday night -- the good news for the Cubs is that they have the depth to manage it. In the same way that they seamlessly handled the Kyle Schwarber injury earlier this year, the team could continue to roll out a representative lineup in Heyward's absence, likely moving Kris Bryant to right field, putting Jorge Soler in left on a more consistent basis and using some combination of Addison Russell, Tommy La Stella and Javier Baez to man the left side of the infield.
And while the defense is close to irreplaceable, the team certainly wouldn't miss his bat. Heyward is hitting just .225/.329/.282 with one home run in 37 games.
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Choo Returns, Then Departs
Shin-Soo Choo's return to the lineup lasted less than an hour, but his next absence should be significantly shorter than his first.
After being activated from the 15-day disabled list Friday afternoon, Choo batted leadoff in Friday night's game and, after two plate appearances, was removed in the third inning with left hamstring tightness.
The good news, or possibly the bad news, depending on what it might say about his durability, is that the hamstring issue is not related to the right calf strain that forced him to miss the previous six weeks. Choo played two rehab games at Double-A Frisco before returning to the active roster.
One similarity between the two injuries is that they are both of the lower-body variety and were presumably both suffered while running. Choo strained his calf while running before a game on April 8, and he left Friday's game after scoring from second base on a Prince Fielder double.
The biggest difference, though, is that Friday's exit was largely precautionary, Choo said after the game. The Rangers removed him as to not risk anything more serious, but Choo told reporters that the team's trainers indicated there was no significant strain, and he was spotted walking without complication following the win. He should be back in the Rangers' lineup in a day or two.
National League Quick Hits: Manager Terry Collins left open the possibility of skipping Matt Harvey after Harvey's disastrous start Thursday, but the right-hander will make his next scheduled start for the Mets after all. Harvey was bombed for nine runs -- six earned -- over 2 2/3 innings Thursday, but he'll get back out there in search of some better results than his current 5.77 ERA ... Ryan Braun (back) remained out of the Brewers' lineup Friday. Braun hasn't played since Tuesday due to nagging lower-back stiffness, and with Braun possibly out all weekend, per manager Craig Counsell, the team may think about backdating a DL stint to get an extra body up with Braun rests ... Speaking of injured Brewers outfielders, the team placed Domingo Santana on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 19, with a right shoulder strain. Santana initially suffered the injury at the beginning of the month and has been in and out of the lineup since. The Brewers finally decided it would be best to just shut him down for a while, recalling Keon Broxton in Santana's absence ... Randal Grichuk (back) was not in the Cardinals' lineup Friday. Grichuk left Thursday game with lower-back tightness, but he's likely considered day to day ... Nolan Arenado hit his major league-leading 14th home run Friday ... Freddie Freeman led the charge for the Braves against Phillies starter Aaron Nola, hitting two home runs and driving in four. He's slashing .272/.364/.483 with eight home runs in the middle of a lineup that may or may not be otherwise comprised of scarecrows.
American League Quick Hits: Sam Dyson got the job done despite some uncertain times, allowing a run but closing out the Astros in his first official duty as Rangers closer. Dyson allowed the run on two hits but also got a strikeout in earning his third save of the season ... Red Sox placed INF/OF Brock Holt on the 7-day concussion disabled list, retroactive to May 19. It's unclear when Holt suffered the concussion, but the club is calling it a mild one, for what it's worth, so perhaps he won't be sidelined long. Blake Swihart got the start in left field for the Red Sox on Friday ... Jackie Bradley Jr. homered in Friday's loss, running his hitting streak to 25 games. The outfielder is batting .340/.399/.626 in his coming out party ... Miguel Cabrera flashed some vintage power Friday, homering twice and finishing 3-for-5 with three RBI. He's now hitting .308/.377/.519 with eight homers and 24 RBI overall ... Batting leadoff for the first time this season, Steven Souza hit a leadoff home run in the Rays' win over the Tigers. Souza finished 2-for-3 on the night and was hit on the wrist by a pitch in his final plate appearance, a possible source of concern for the outfielder after injuries limited him to 110 games last season. X-rays may be coming late Friday or early Saturday ... Sonny Gray continues to scuffle, lasting just 3 1/3 innings and allowing five runs -- four earned -- in Friday's loss to the Yankees. He now owns a 6.19 ERA and 1.65 WHIP through nine starts. He's lost his last four decisions.