A’s infielder Eric Sogard missed the first two weeks of the season with a neck issue. He could miss the next two months because of a balky knee.
Sogard said he will likely need surgery after an MRI showed loose bodies in his left knee, which has bothered him off and on for a few years. A’s manager Bob Melvin said Sogard was going to have a second opinion but “it looks like” surgery is imminent.
“I know it bothered him this spring,” Melvin said. “And it’s popped up a few times to where we’ve had to shut him down.”
Sogard said he has been “able to control” the discomfort but felt it limited his ability to generate power with his back leg while hitting. He said the MRI also showed a point on his patella and surgery would likely involve shaving that down. Sogard said he would expect a recovery of six to eight weeks if he does have surgery.
“It’s unfortunate that it’s during the season to have to go through that and be out,” he said. “But it’s something I’ve been dealing with for a few years and it’s been affecting me … Hopefully I can come back and have a good second half.”
Sogard aggravated the knee during a rehab game while returning from the neck issue that put him on the disabled list to start the season. On a positive note, he said his neck is “good now.”
Et cetera – A’s starter Henderson Alvarez, who is returning from shoulder surgery, will throw a bullpen session Sunday and then likely begin a minor-league rehab assignment. Melvin said the A’s are still hoping Alvarez will be able to join their rotation in late May or early June.
▪ Entering Saturday, shortstop Marcus Semien has made all 11 of his starts this season batting either eighth or ninth in the A’s order. But Semien is also one of the few A’s hitters producing at the moment, batting .281 with a team-high four home runs. On Saturday, he’s in the No. 2 spot against Royals right-hander Chris Young.
“We have to do the best we can right now,” Melvin said. “He’s getting on base and getting some good swings. With (Chris) Coghlan out of the lineup I felt like he was the best choice for the two-spot today. It doesn’t mean he’s going to stay there. But the way he’s been swinging he deserves it today.”
Despite his four homers, Semien has just five RBIs. Slotting him behind leadoff hitter Billy Burns could give Semien more chances to hit with a runner or two on base.
▪ A leftover fact from Friday night: Left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski recorded at least four outs for the second time already this season. Last year, Rzepczynski, known primarily as a left-handed specialist, appeared in 72 games with Cleveland and San Diego without recording more than three outs once.
Melvin said his use of Rzepczynski has reflected an overall need to lean on his bullpen so far with A’s starters not pitching deep into games. He added Rzepczynski has a repertoire that plays against right-handed hitters as well.
“He has a nice little sinker for the righties, that helps him stay out there against the other side,” Melvin said. “The specialist is the guy that’s usually protected – you get him in there against a lefty and no matter what happens you get him out. But he hasn’t been that. He’s done a nice job.”