Wendelken Goes on Injured List; Athletics Recall Kaprielian

John Hickey

The Oakland A’s put reliever J.B. Wendelken on the injured list Thursday, potentially meaning he won’t be with the club for the postseason, which begins Tuesday.

The A’s didn’t give any explanation for the move, the media was told manager Bob Melvin wouldn't be able to answer any questions and said the team would not be making any additional announcements in the near future. 

It’s an open question if the move might have something to do with a positive COVID-19 test, or if there are other issues involved. Major League Baseball protocols say having a player placed on the injured list doesn't stand as confirmation of a positive COVID test. 

Those protocols also say a player could go on the injured list for other reasons, including exposure to a positive case or symptoms that require further assessment.

Taking Wendelken’s spot on the roster will be James Kaprielian, who has been promoted to the big club for the fourth time this season, including twice when he was the 29 man in the club’s doubleheaders on Sept. 8 in the Coliseum against Houston and Sept. 14 at Seattle. He’s only pitched in one game, however, getting one inning on the road against the Giants on Aug. 16.

This will be a test, because the A’s, along with the rest of baseball, have had to shut down their alternate sites, so there hasn’t been regular work for any of the players who had been at the alternate site.

Manager Bob Melvin said “He’s had good bullpens, I hear.” But it hasn’t been easy with the alternate site down.

“That’s the hard part right now,” Melvin said. “They’re not even able to throw to hitters, so you try to simulate the best you can. Every team has to go through it. There’s not a lot you can do for these guys.

“Hopefully you don’t get to the point where injury-wise you have to dig too deep down, but these guys understand why they’re there and that they have to take it seriously and prepare that way because you know in Kap’s case today, you could be called on at any moment.”

Any long-term loss of Wendelken would be bad news for the A’s bullpen. He’s in the midst of his best pro season, having a 1.80 ERA in 21 games, pitching mostly in the sixth, seventh an eighth innings. He’d given up runs in his last two appearances, but from Aug. 14-Sept.18 he went five weeks allowing just one unearned run in 13 games over 15.1 innings.

NOTES:

--Melvin said there’s a chance that Chad Pinder, working his way back from a hamstring injury might get an at-bat before the end of the season, but the club won’t push him, because they want to be sure he’s healthy for the postseason.

--The A’s won’t announce their starting pitchers for Saturday’s doubleheader against the Mariners or Sunday’s finale until Friday. Melvin said that if Kaprielian isn’t used Thursday or Friday, he might be a candidate to pitch in one of the two games of the doubleheader, but it’s unlikely he’d start either game.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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