Programming note: Blue Jays-A’s coverage starts today at 12:30 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
OAKLAND – First baseman Kyle Blanks is looking at a longer stay on the disabled list than the A’s originally anticipated.
A recent MRI showed a tear in Blanks’ left calf muscle, a more serious injury than the original diagnosis of a strain.
“He has a slight tear, so he’s going to be considerably longer than we were originally thinking,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Blanks, who had been starting at first against left-handed pitchers since the A’s acquired him from San Diego in mid-May, hasn’t played since June 22.
His absence means recently called up Nate Freiman will continue to see time at first against lefties. Freiman enters Friday’s game against Toronto 2-for-9 in three games with Oakland. Notably, he also made some nice defensive plays in Thursday night’s win, and that’s an area that Melvin says Freiman has shown improvement.
“He is much, much better at first base than what we saw last year,” Melvin said. “It’s a credit to him, and certainly we have some great infield coaches that work with him. But he works awfully hard and he can drive you crazy with how many ground balls he wants to take. He is a hard-working kid.”
Notes: Catcher Derek Norris, who has recently been hit in the head four times by hitters’ backswings, has adjusted his positioning slightly behind home plate, moving back just a bit deeper in hopes of avoiding being struck again. … Third baseman Josh Donaldson returned to the lineup after missing two games because of back stiffness.