It took six awful starts for Dan Haren to admit to pitching through a back injury and upon being placed on the disabled list yesterday the Angels right-hander revealed that he’s been dealing with lower back soreness for most of the season.
Haren also told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that trying to keep alive his streak of never missing a start and never needing a DL stint played a role in his trying to pitch through the injury, saying:
I think I was doing a disservice to the team by going out there at less than a hundred percent and trying to win ballgames. So I went and talked to Sosh, and I said basically, rather than making 16 more starts not being a hundred percent, I’d rather make 14 starts at a hundred percent. If I was pitching for a team in last place, I’d probably just finish off the year like this and get it taken care of at the end. But I think my last 14 starts or so are going to mean a lot to this team, and hopefully I can make a few more in October as well.
That’s the best-case scenario, of course, because there’s certainly no guarantee that a couple weeks off will cure Haren considering he estimated that the injury left him pitching at around 70 percent effectiveness recently.
Through the end of May he had a 3.52 ERA and 66/14 K/BB ratio in 72 innings, but after June 1 he allowed 29 runs, including nine homers, in 32 innings as his overall ERA ballooned to 4.86.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.
While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.