In the final stretch of a vital playoff chase, the Oakland Athletics were counting on breakout rookie outfielder Yoenis Cespedes more than ever for some late-season magic.
Unfortunately, that may not happen. The slugger left Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Angels after sliding into second base and spraining his right wrist, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser:
#Athletics OF Yoenis Cespedes left today's game with sprained right wrist.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 13, 2012
Though Slusser also reports that the 26-year-old's injury is "day-to-day," Oakland can ill afford to be without him for too many games.
Heading into Thursday's action against the Angels, the A's were just three games behind the Texas Rangers for the AL West lead and coming on strong. Winners of seven of its last 10 games, Oakland was seemingly scampering toward a playoff spot while leaving all other wild-card competitors in the dust.
If Cespedes is out for an extended period of time, a red-hot Oakland squad could go ice-cold.
Though his season has gone under the radar with more high-profile rookies like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout stealing the headlines, Cespedes' presence is vital to the Athletics.
Before Thursday, the Athletics were 70-38 when the young slugger was in the lineup and just 12-22 without him (per the Chronicle's Slusser).
Cespedes also leads the Athletics with a .287 batting average and is second on the team behind Josh Reddick with 18 home runs and 68 RBI.
To say the least, this injury situation needs to be tracked going forward, as it could alter the playoff picture for a myriad of American League teams.