A’s shortstop Marcus Semien was scratched from the nightcap of yesterday’s doubleheader against the Astros. He was experiencing soreness in his left side, manager Bob Melvin told reporters (including Shayna Rubin of the San Jose Mercury News). Semien underwent an MRI yesterday afternoon.
As Rubin notes, that broke a remarkable streak of 276 consecutive games in which Semien was penciled into the lineup as Oakland’s shortstop. Star third baseman Matt Chapman slid over to short for the first time in his MLB career in Semien’s stead. Rule V draftee Vimael Machin stepped in at the hot corner.
Surely, the hope is that Semien’s MRI will come back clean and he’ll be back shortly. At 22-12, the A’s are in extremely strong position to qualify for the postseason, so they can afford to play things cautiously. Semien has been off to a disappointing start, hitting just .229/.285/.379 with five home runs in 151 plate appearances, but there’s no questioning his importance to the club. After all, the 29-year-old is coming off a season in which he racked up nearly eight wins above replacement and finished third in AL MVP voting.
If Semien were to miss time, it’s possible Chapman could stay at shortstop. His elite defense at third base would seem to suggest he’d be more than capable of sliding up the defensive spectrum. (Of course, it’s arguable that moving Chapman off third is too risky considering how great he’s been at that position). As Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle observes (Twitter link), the A’s do have Sheldon Neuse and non-roster invitee Nate Orf at their alternate training site as potential infield depth. Utilityman Chad Pinder (who went on the paternity list earlier this week) has a bit of MLB shortstop experience as well.