Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Last season’s improbable playoff run was made all the more remarkable given the overflow of adversity and tragedy they faced on a seemingly weekly basis. Whatever the case—be it injury, freak accident, suspension, underwhelming performance, inexperience—the hallmark of the Oakland Athletics’ 2012 season was the ability to overcome these hardships, both minor and major, temporary and long-term.
That is what helped make the team’s 14 walk-off wins so memorable: Nothing could or would keep them down. They would find a way to win. And they did, to the tune of an American League West division title.
Because 2012 was littered with so much misfortune, Oakland prepared for this season with caution and care, knowing that depth in all areas of the roster would go a long way toward compensating for any mishaps that might occur.
But certainly the A’s could not predict that they’d be struck with this much bad luck for a second consecutive year.
Spring training was highlighted by injuries to infielders Adam Rosales and the newly acquired Japanese free agent Hiro Nakajima. Both landed on the disabled list to start the season. Additionally, closer Grant Balfour had minor surgery to repair torn meniscus in his right knee, though he returned healthy for Opening Day.
The season’s only a half-month old, and already the injury bug has hampered the Athletics’ clubhouse. Josh Reddick (wrist), Coco Crisp (groin), Yoenis Cespedes (wrist) and Brett Anderson (various) are among the casualties so far. Reddick and Crisp each missed a couple of games, while Cespedes’ wrist strain landed him on the DL.
These injuries have required a handful of roster changes already, with rookies Michael Taylor and Shane Peterson making their debuts.
Even with the daily shuffling of the roster and the lineup, the A’s have continued to persevere, jumping out to the league’s best record.
The A’s showed that much like last season, the missing holes in the lineup will be filled by someone who will contribute in any fashion or form. On Monday, rookie Nate Freiman hit his first major league homer, filling in a designated hitter. On Wednesday, Shane Peterson made his major league debut, starting at first base for Brandon Moss, who is on paternity leave.
So far, 2013 is the same script as last year: No matter the problem, the A’s are all for one, and one for all. Only time will tell if that unity brings the same result: postseason.
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