Athletics’ Sean Murphy sidelined after surgery for collapsed lung

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy will be sidelined for several weeks with a collapsed lung that required surgery but is expected to be fine and fully recovered by opening day.

“I don’t think he liked the idea of just sort of being out there in the world not knowing if this was going to happen again, so he got the surgery done, took care of it and it’s only going to set him back a few weeks,” general manager David Forst said Wednesday following the team’s first spring training workout for pitchers and catchers.

“It’s one of those things that popped up. We’re glad he got it taken care of, got the surgery done.”

The 26-year-old Murphy woke up a few weeks ago with the spontaneous issue, according to Forst – perhaps caused from a strong coughing episode while sleeping.

“It’s kind of a freak thing,” Forst said, noting Murphy chose to go to the emergency room when he didn’t feel right.

He will drive to Arizona in the coming days to join the team with the hopes of resuming baseball activities around March 1 then playing Cactus League games by mid-month.

“The prognosis as we sit here sounds good,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Our training staff believes we’ll get him here in time in spring at some point, obviously a little bit delayed, but the timetable is for him to be ready for opening day. It sounds pretty dramatic and it certainly did to me as well, but they think the procedure went well and the prognosis is good.”

Murphy appeared in 43 games for Oakland during the shortened 60-game 2020 season, batting .233 with seven homers, five doubles and 14 RBIs with 39 starts behind the plate.

Also out for Oakland as the club began spring training in Mesa, Arizona, is right-hander Frankie Montas, quarantined at home in Scottsdale with the coronavirus. Melvin said Montas is “several days into it.” The team’s 2020 opening day starter tested positive prior to reporting day, Forst said.

“As we sit here today, I don’t think there’s any concern about him being ready for opening day,” Forst said.

Notes: LHP A.J. Puk, who missed all of last season because of a strained pitching shoulder before having surgery in September, threw his first bullpen session, and Melvin said his delivery was “free and easy.” “I think surgery really did a lot for him,” Melvin said. While Puk will be built up as a starter, he may pitch out of the bullpen initially – all the options are still under discussion.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.