OAKLAND — It’s going to be hard for Stephen Piscotty to top the night he had on Thursday.
The A’s outfielder kicked off an 8-4 victory over the Tigers with a scorching solo homer in the third inning that was belted at an exit velocity of 109.6 mph and traveled 404 feet to left, per Statcast, which marked his second straight game with a home run and qualified as the hardest-hit ball of the night. A couple of hours later, Piscotty raced out of the Coliseum in the seventh inning to join his wife, Carrie, who gave birth to their first child, a boy.
“He left in the middle of the game,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “They had a little boy. I know he’s pretty excited about that, as are we.”
The A’s placed Piscotty on the paternity list prior to Friday’s game against the Tigers. He can be on the list for up to three days, and Melvin said he expects him to be on leave for at least the next two days.
Utility infielder Vimael Machín was called up from the A’s alternate training site in Stockton, Calif., to take Piscotty’s place on the 26-man roster. Machín’s versatility affords the club the potential to give a rest day to shortstop Elvis Andrus, who entered Friday having started all 13 games this season.
“At some point, I will give [Elvis] a breather. Just don’t tell him right now,” Melvin joked. “It makes it easier. We really didn’t have anybody that could play that position. We will be giving some guys some off-days now that we have better personnel to do that right now.”
Fiers increases pitch count
Mike Fiers (lumbar strain) could be just one rehab start away from joining the A’s rotation. The right-hander threw 77 pitches at the A’s alternate site in a scrimmage game against Giants Minor Leaguers on Thursday afternoon. His next and possibly final step will be to throw around 90 pitches in an outing at the alternate site on Tuesday.
“Everything has to go well, and he has to be healthy,” Melvin said. “We’ll try to get him up to 90 on [April 20], and then we’ll look to do something.”
It’s unclear how the A’s would reconfigure their pitching staff to integrate Fiers back into the mix. One possibility would be for left-hander Cole Irvin, who began the season in the rotation in place of Fiers, to move to the bullpen in a long-relief role.