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Injury Notes: Blackburn, Pina, Morejon, Garcia, Szapucki


The A’s will open the season with both starter Paul Blackburn and catcher Manny Piña on the injured list, manager Mark Kotsay told reporters this afternoon (link via Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle). Blackburn still can’t throw at full strength after ripping the nail on his middle finger a couple weeks ago. Piña, meanwhile, was diagnosed with left wrist inflammation after meeting with a specialist yesterday. His wrist is currently in a brace and there’s no timetable for his return to baseball activity.

Neither development comes as a surprise. Kotsay said a few days ago both players were questionable for Opening Day. Blackburn’s absence doesn’t figure to be a long-term concern but will require an adjustment to the starting five. Blackburn would have been assured of an Opening Day rotation spot, joining Drew Rucinski and Shintaro Fujinami in that regard. James Kaprielian seems as if he’ll join them, as Kotsay indicated today the righty is on track to be ready for the season after offseason shoulder surgery. The A’s will need to make a move at catcher in the next two weeks, as Shea Langeliers is the only healthy backstop on the 40-man roster.

More injury updates around the game:

  • Padres southpaw Adrián Morejón went for an MRI after departing a weekend Spring Training game with elbow discomfort. Manager Bob Melvin provided a generally positive update this afternoon, telling the media that Morejón’s MRI came back clean of structural damage (video provided by 97.3 FM The Fan). Imaging did reveal some inflammation in the joint and the young hurler will be shut down from throwing until symptoms subside. That could be within a matter of days, according to Melvin. While Morejón may still need to open the season on the 15-day injured list, that there’s no structural damage warrants a sigh of relief considering his injury history. He lost most of 2021 and the first half of last season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. The Friars used Morejón exclusively out of the bullpen last year. They’ve floated the possibility of moving him back to the rotation at some point, though it remains to be seen if his latest elbow discomfort will affect the club’s usage plan.
  • The Pirates announced last week that reliever Jarlín García was being shut down after experiencing some discomfort in his throwing arm. Director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk provided an update yesterday, telling reporters the southpaw has a nerve injury in the biceps area (via Justice delos Santos of He’ll remain shut down from throwing for at least four to five weeks before going for more testing late next month. It’s clear García is in for an extended absence to start the season, as even a best-case scenario in which he can start throwing again in mid-April will require a ramp-up period lasting into May. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Pittsburgh place him on the 60-day injured list at some point. García signed a $2.5MM free agent deal over the winter after being non-tendered by the Giants despite a 3.74 ERA in 65 innings last season.
  • Giants reliever Thomas Szapucki will meet with a thoracic outlet syndrome specialist next week, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. He’d been sidelined of late by discomfort in his elbow area and there’s evidently some concern it’s related to the condition. Thoracic outlet syndrome has become a fairly prevalent issue for pitchers in recent years, typically requiring a surgical procedure that involves the removal of a rib to reduce nerve pressure in the arm. The track record for players returning from that issue is mixed. While players like Merrill Kelly have come back better than ever, the likes of Stephen Strasburg and Matt Harvey have never regained their pre-surgery form.

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