The spring injuries are piling up for the Oakland A’s pitching staff.
Reliever Deolis Guerra will have surgery to address forearm tightness and will miss the beginning of the season, reports team insider Martin Gallegos. The precise nature of the surgery hasn’t yet been revealed, nor how long Guerra might be out, but Gallegos specifies that the right-hander will ultimately be placed on the injured list.
The loss of Guerra creates yet another opening in a bullpen that was already full of them. Only two relievers who threw at least 15 innings for the A’s last year were set to return in 2022, and Guerra was one of them, leaving Lou Trivino now as the only holdover. As things stand the entire rest of the pen will be new, either up from the minors or arriving via trades and signings and waiver claims, though a few may have briefly appeared for Oakland before.
Last summer, Guerra reliably filled multiple roles as a versatile glue guy. He was able to go long for multiple innings, or focus on a shorter outing in a close contest, and on more than one occasion he quietly kept Oakland in the game long enough for the lineup to mount a comeback and win.
Guerra, 2021: 4.11 ERA, 65⅔ ip, 62 Ks, 20 BB, 8 HR, 3.96 FIP
It was a personal bounce-back too. Guerra had mostly been out of the majors for the previous three seasons, but he got a new chance with the A’s on a minor league deal and turned it into gold. He set career-highs in appearances, innings, and strikeouts.
Now entering age 33, he’s hit a new setback. Forearm tightness often means Tommy John surgery, which would knock him out for the season, but that hasn’t been reported yet so we’ll have to wait to find out. For now all we know is he’ll begin the year on the IL, and the bullpen just became an even huger question mark.
Oakland’s rotation has also taken a couple of hits ahead of Opening Day. James Kaprielian will miss most of April (but is making good progress, per Gallegos), and Brent Honeywell is out indefinitely. Here’s the latest injury report: