Athletics have injury concerns as they visit Texas

The Oakland Athletics will make their second trip of the season to north Texas this week for a two-game set with the Rangers that begins Tuesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, but will do so with injury concerns about pitcher Daniel Gossett and left fielder Matt Joyce.

Gossett pitched five innings of two-hit, one-run ball for the A’s in their 5-1 win at Kansas City on Sunday before leaving the game with right elbow tightness. He called the exit precautionary, and that the A’s didn’t want to leave him in and “lead to anything that might be worse.”

“After the fifth, he came and talked to me a little bit and wanted to go out there and warm up,” Oakland coach Bob Melvin said. “We thought better to go down in the cage and see how it feels there. Just didn’t want to chance it.”

Gossett underwent an MRI on Monday’s off-day.

Joyce, Oakland’s starting left fielder, missed Sunday’s game after leaving Saturday’s contest with lower back tightness. He’s considered day to day but the off day on Monday should have helped get him back for at least some action in the series against the Rangers.

“We do have the left-hander the first day in Texas, so hopefully we gain a little ground in the next few days,” Melvin told mlb.com before Sunday’s game.

The Rangers are 9-11 over their past 20 games, a significant improvement over their season win-percentage of .403.

But Texas’ offense, a part of the team that was expected to be the team’s strength this year, has been inconsistent and under-performing. Only designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo, who is at .314 over the past 20 games, and Nomar Mazara (.254, four homers in his past 20) have batted better that .250 in this latest stretch, with the team batting .225.

If slugger Joey Gallo can get back on track it will help the Rangers. Gallo got the day off Sunday, but he was 5-for-18 with seven walks in the first six games of Texas’ seven-game road trip that ended with a 3-1 loss in Anaheim to the Angels.

In a reversal of the norm, Gallo had a higher on-base percentage (.435) than slugging percentage (.389) during those six games. The Rangers are 11-10 in games Gallo draws at least one walk. They are 5-9 in games he hits a home run.

“I’m starting to get that patient approach back,” Gallo told mlb.com. “I was struggling there in the beginning. It’s tough early in the year when you want to do it all and try to do too much. Walks are a huge part of my game — even if I am not going well, I can still help us win a game. It’s important to understand the situation.”

The Athletics will send left-hander Sean Manaea (5-6, 3.60 ERA) to the mound in the opener to opposed Texas left-hander Matt Moore (1-5, 7.85).

Manaea has allowed four runs or more in each of his last six starts after yielding two runs or fewer in each of his first six starts (including one run or fewer five times). He was the losing pitcher in his last start, a 6-0 loss to Tampa Bay in Oakland on May 30.

Manaea is 4-2 with a 3.51 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 48.2 career innings pitched against the Rangers and is 1-2 with a 4.74 ERA in four starts at Globe Life Park dating back to 2016.

Moore was activated from the 10-day disabled list (right knee soreness) on Wednesday and took a no decision in the Rangers’ 7-6 come-from-behind win on May 30 at Seattle. His 108 pitches in that game were a season high in what was Moore’s third-longest start with Texas.

Moore is 1-2 with a 6.82 ERA in six games, all of them starts, in his career versus Oakland. He posted a strong performance in his other outing against the A’s in 2018, as he also started series opener and got a no decision in Oakland’s other visit to Arlington on April 23 in a Rangers’ 9-4 loss.