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Athletics’ Matt Olson scratched after destroying his own face in batting practice

Athletics, Matt Olson

Thursday was just another day for Oakland Athletics star first baseman Matt Olson. Until it wasn’t.

Athletics manager Bob Melvin scratched Olson from the team’s lineup ahead of a showdown with the Tampa Bay Rays after fouling a ball off his face in batting practice. He will undergo further testing, per Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Olson hit a ball in the batting cage that ricocheted off the pitcher’s protective screen, came back and hit his eye, Melvin said. He was due to have an X-ray.

Melvin said Olson’s eye was “swollen pretty good.”

This is an unfortunate setback, both for Olson and the Athletics. It remains to be seen just how much time Olson could miss, but a lengthy absence would be a tough pill to swallow.

The A’s have roared back from a 1-7 start thanks in part to guys like Olson, who was absolutely raking to start the 2021 season. The 27-year-old was slashing .296/.363/.580 with six homers, 17 RBI and a 173 OPS+. Olson ranked 13th among qualified hitters in weighted runs created plus (wRC+), per FanGraphs.

But the Atlanta native is far more than just a left-handed slugger. Olson is a two-time Gold Glover who has generally been one of the better defensive first basemen in baseball.

Fortunately, the Athletics have some depth at the position. Mitch Moreland can play some first, though he is not off to the best of starts.

Still, the A’s would lament Olson hitting the shelf for an extended period, especially because of the accidental nature of the injury.