The long-time minor leaguer has had spurts of useful power when he's snuck into lineups for Texas and Oakland. Jake Smolinski, however, doesn't necessarily have the profile befitting a slugger: He doesn't overload on flyballs, and unfortunately when he has hit the ball in the air it's been popped up in the infield at an alarming rate (16.1 percent last year). He never showed overwhelming pop in the minors, but what he has displayed in the bigs is a strong contact rate. That may make him something better than a .242 hitter moving forward. However, while Oakland doesn't have many impact youngsters in the outfield, they'll probably look to upgrade. Entering his age-28 season, it's going to take drastic, unexpected changes to his skills for Smolinski to become anything outside of fantasy filler.
Smolinski underwent successful surgery on his right shoulder Thursday, which involved repairing his labrum and a bursectomy. He will wear a sling for the next four weeks as he aims to return at some point in 2017. As yet there's no timetable for Smolinski's rehab, however.
Smolinski is scheduled to undergo surgery on his shoulder Friday, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Smolinski appeared to have almost shook the shoulder issue that has bothered him since entering camp when he appeared as the A's designated hitter, but the problem seems to have persisted. The 28-year-old doesn't have a timetable, as the exact nature of his shoulder problem still isn't known. His status should be updated after more information is made available following the surgery. In an extended absence for Smolinski, non-roster invitees Alejandro De Aza and Jaff Decker will have an improved chance of cracking the 25-man roster.
Smolinski (shoulder) did some light throwing Wednesday morning to test out his arm strength, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Smolinski, limited to hitting work since his injury, has appeared in two games as a designated hitter this spring, but seems to be aiming for a return to the outfield. The 28-year-old is competing for an everyday role in the Oakland lineup this season after batting .238/.299/.345 in 99 games last season and slugging .457 against left-handers. Smolinski has shown promise, but will need to prove his worth a spring training winds down. Getting back on the field would be a major step.
Smolinski (shoulder) made his spring debut in Sunday's 5-4 Cactus League victory over the Mariners, going 0-for-2 with a walk. Smolinski finally saw game action after dealing with his right shoulder injury since late February. While he still hasn't been deemed fit enough to resume outfield work, the fact that he's progressed enough to take hacks against live pitching is encouraging. Smolinski is facing a rather unexpected challenge for his roster spot in the form of fellow veteran Alejandro De Aza, who's taken advantage of Smolinski's extended absence by generating a .417/.462/.750 line over his first 12 spring at-bats. Smolinski owns a .235 average with 12 home runs over 140 major league games, but he provided a glimpse at his potential with a .301 average over 36 games prior to the All-Star break in 2016. "He's in a position right now where he's trying to make the team, and he's kind of always been in that position," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I believe he has the ability to be a guy who could even be a regular at the big league level. He hasn't at this point. He's been a little bit streaky, where he's been really good and then gone through some struggles that have kept him out of the lineup and precluded him from maybe being an everyday guy."
Smolinski (shoulder) is still not throwing and will serve as the designated hitter in Sunday's Cactus League game, Joe Stiglich of Comcast SportsNet reports. Smolinski has been dealing with the shoulder injury for quite some time this spring and has been held out of outfield drills as he recovers. Nonetheless, the designated hitter opportunity shows the injury isn't too concerning while also providing the 28-year-old with a chance to see some live game action. Look for Smolinski to continue his progression as Opening Day approaches.