Wild Card Game: A’s vs. Royals lineups

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Here are the lineups for tonight’s Wild Card Game between the A’s and Royals, in Kansas City:

Athletics:
CF Coco Crisp
LF Sam Fuld
3B Josh Donaldson
DH Brandon Moss
RF Josh Reddick
SS Jed Lowrie
1B Stephen Vogt
C Geovany Soto
2B Eric Sogard

SP Jon Lester

Adam Dunn, who served as the A’s primary designated hitter down the stretch, is out of the lineup against a right-handed pitcher. Dunn posted a .783 OPS versus righties this season, with 20 homers in 370 at-bats. His absence opens up the DH spot for Brandon Moss, except he’s struggled throughout the second half while playing through a major hip injury.

Another surprise is Derek Norris being on the bench and Geovany Soto catching Jon Lester, which he’s never done before. Kansas City runs a lot and Norris has struggled throwing people out, but it’s still unexpected. A’s manager Bob Melvin is going defense-heavy in this game, with Soto and Sam Fuld.

Royals:
SS Alcides Escobar
RF Norichika Aoki
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Billy Butler
LF Alex Gordon
C Salvador Perez
2B Omar Infante
3B Mike Moustakas

SP James Shields

Standard lineup for the Royals, who used the same nine players and the same batting order in each of the final eight games. Josh Willingham, acquired from the Twins in August to hit left-handed pitching, is on the bench versus a lefty. Eric Hosmer has a sub-.700 OPS off lefties and is batting cleanup.

Aaron Hicks would like to avoid Tommy John surgery

Aaron Hicks
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The Yankees’ 2019 run ended in heartbreak on Saturday night when, despite a stunning ninth-inning comeback, they fell 6-4 to the Astros and officially lost their bid for the AL pennant. Now, facing a long offseason, there are a few decisions to be made.

One of those falls on the shoulders of outfielder Aaron Hicks, who told reporters that he “thinks he can continue playing without Tommy John surgery.” It’s unclear whose recommendation he’s basing that decision on, however, as MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch points out that Tommy John surgery was recommended during the slugger’s most recent meeting with Dr. Neal ELAttrache.

Hicks originally sustained a season-ending right flexor strain in early August and held several consultations with ElAttrache and the Yankees’ physician in the months that followed. He spent two and a half months on the 60-day injured list and finally returned to the Yankees’ roster during the ALCS, in which he went 2-for-13 with a base hit and a Game 5 three-run homer against the Astros.

Of course, a handful of strong performances doesn’t definitively prove that the outfielder is fully healed — or that he’ll be able to avoid aggravating the injury with further activity. Granted, Tommy John surgery isn’t a minor procedure; it’s one that requires up to a year of rest and rehabilitation before most players are cleared to throw again. Should Hicks wait to reverse his decision until he reports for spring training in 2020, though, it could push his return date out by another six months or so.