Athletics Notes: Guerra, Oller, Lowrie

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A’s reliever Deolis Guerra will require surgery after leaving a Cactus League appearance this week due to forearm tightness, reports Martín Gallegos of MLB.com (Twitter link). The underlying cause of the soreness and the type of procedure he’ll undergo aren’t clear, but forearm tightness can often be a precursor to Tommy John proceeders.

Guerra had looked like one of the sturdier middle innings options for first-year skipper Mark Kotsay. The 32-year-old (33 later this month) is coming off a season in which he logged a personal-high 65 2/3 innings across 53 appearances in his first year in Oakland. Guerra posted a 4.11 ERA, striking out an average 23% of batters faced while only walking 7.4% of opponents. It wasn’t an overpowering showing, but the Venezuela native frequently worked multiple innings out of the ’pen and excelled at avoiding hard contact. Guerra is playing out this year on an $815K salary and is controllable via arbitration through 2024. He”ll accrue big league service for whatever time he spends on the injured list.

More out of Oakland:

  • Kotsay informed right-hander Adam Oller this afternoon that he’ll break camp with the big league club, Gallegos writes. That positions the 27-year-old to make his MLB debut at some point early in the year. The closer to the majors of the two pitching prospects the A’s acquired from the Mets for Chris Bassitt, Oller is a former 20th-round pick out of Northwestern State. Originally selected by the Pirates, he’d also seen time in the Giants organization, in independent ball and in Australia before putting together a breakout 2021 campaign. He made 23 combined starts between the Mets’ top two affiliates, working 120 innings of 3.45 ERA ball with a 27.7% strikeout rate and a 9.4% walk percentage. Baseball America placed him 23rd in the A’s system after he was acquired, writing that his capable three-pitch mix and solid control could make him a back-of-the-rotation starter or long reliever. Kotsay suggested Oller, who is already on Oakland’s 40-man roster, could pitch in either role to begin his big league career. The A’s will be without starters James Kaprielian and Brent Honeywell Jr. to open the year, perhaps leaving a spot for Oller in the season-opening rotation.
  • The A’s recently brought Jed Lowrie back for what’ll be a seventh season in green and gold. The switch-hitting infielder has played almost exclusively second base or designated hitter in recent years. Tony Kemp looks to have earned everyday run at the keystone with a strong 2021 showing, and Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that the A’s have been getting Lowrie some work at first base this spring. The 37-year-old has never started an MLB game at first, but he’s dealt with knee issues lately and didn’t rate well at second last season. Oakland doesn’t have an obvious everyday first baseman on the roster after trading Matt Olson, so manning the position could get Lowrie some extra at-bats.

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