It was a rollercoaster of a game for Athletics starter Mike Fiers on Saturday. The right-hander sported an eye-catching “cat tail” beard that set social media ablaze when he stepped on the mound; by the second inning, however, he had something much more pressing to deal with: a worrisome case of right arm nerve irritation.
According to Fiers, he began to feel numbness in his right hand after throwing to Rougned Odor in the second — just three pitches before Odor launched a two-run, 436-foot home run to put the Rangers on the board. While Fiers later told reporters the sensation felt familiar and was mostly a mental issue, the A’s weren’t about to take any chances with their ace. They left him in to face Delino DeShields, who promptly drew a five-pitch walk, then removed him for Paul Blackburn.
Through Saturday’s outing, Fiers has spun a 14-4 record in 31 starts with a 4.09 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, 6.1 SO/9, and 1.3 fWAR through 171 2/3 innings in 2019. It doesn’t seem like he’ll miss more than one turn in the rotation, though Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle points out that “nerve irritation” comprises a spectrum of minor and major injuries and accompanying treatments, from Brett Anderson‘s two-week stint on the injured list to Andrew Triggs‘ season-ending surgery. Where Fiers falls in that spectrum is still undetermined.
Until they have a clear idea of their starter’s recovery timetable, the A’s will turn to the other five hurlers in their six-man rotation as they keep moving toward an AL wild card spot. As for the right-hander, well, he’s playing it safe:
MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.
Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.
The entire camp was placed in quarantine.
“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”
Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.
The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.
“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”