The A's thought they faced a difficult decision at catcher ahead of Opening Day. It turns out that decision has been made for them.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin revealed Wednesday that Chris Herrmann will require surgery on his right knee and miss the start of the 2019 regular season.
Chris Herrmann is going to need right knee surgery, Bob Melvin says.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 6, 2019
Chris Herrmann will have right knee surgery, Melvin says. Trainer will soon provide more details, but the A's will have to start the season without him. Plan is to carry what they have left at catcher: Josh Phegley and Nick Hundley.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) March 6, 2019
A's trainer Nick Paparesta provided more details, telling reporters that Herrmann would get a second opinion before having the arthroscopic surgery. He could not provide a timetable for Herrmann's return.
A's trainee Nick Paparesta said that Chris Herrmann needs some cleanup of cartilage and bone chips in his right knee, there is a fissure to repair but no ligament damage. It's arthroscopic but no timetable given for return because extent of damage unknown until they're in there.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 6, 2019
A's head trainer Nick Paparesta says Herrmann will get a second opinion before undergoing what would be arthroscopic knee surgery. He refrained from providing a timetable until they get in there and see what's going on.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) March 6, 2019
Herrmann, 31, signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the A's in December after spending last year with the Mariners. In seven career seasons, he has posted a .205/.282/.351 slash line.
Herrmann was penciled in as one of Oakland's two catchers to start the year. He would have represented the left-handed side of a platoon, with right-handers Nick Hundley and Josh Phegley battling for the other roster spot. Now it appears Hundley and Phegley will split time behind the plate to begin the season.
Hundley, 35, signed a minor league contract with the A's last month. The former Giant has a career slash line of .248/.300/.406 in 11 big league seasons.
Phegley is entering his seventh major league season and his fifth with the A's. The 31-year-old agreed to a one-year, $1.075 million contract with Oakland in November.
The A's also have top prospect Sean Murphy waiting in the wings. The 24-year-old is ranked as the number four catcher prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline. However, A's brass wants him to get some playing time in Triple-A before calling him up to make his major league debut.
The A's depart for Japan next week ahead of their season opener against the Mariners on March 20.