NEW YORK — A variety of ailments has hit players during the A's landslide of injuries over the past couple of seasons.
But for most bizarre, the injury that put Daric Barton on the disabled list Saturday ranks up there and left him in hot water with A's manager Bob Geren.
Over the All-Star break, Barton struck his head on the bottom of a pool after diving into it and not realizing how shallow it was. Alhough he never lost consciousness, the incident required a trip to the emergency room, and the lingering neck stiffness Barton is experiencing landed him on the DL.
The incident happened while Barton was at a friend's apartment complex in Huntington Beach.
"As soon as I did it, it was kind of a shock. I didn't know what happened," Barton said. "I looked down and saw blood. Then blood started going down my face."
All things considered, Barton is fortunate he wasn't hurt more severely.
The gash he suffered on top of his head required six staples to close. The staples are still in but are supposed to be removed Wednesday.
Barton said he simply turned the corner around a flight of stairs near the pool and dove in, not knowing the pool's depth.
Though Geren was glad Barton wasn't hurt worse, he didn't think his rookie first baseman acted responsibly.
"Obviously (the injury) could be worse," Geren said before Saturday's 4-3 loss to the New York Yankees. "But I'm upset about it a little bit. It seemed to be a careless mistake that hurt the team."
Geren said Barton felt fine during team workouts Thursday and early Friday, but that his neck started getting sore afterward.
Barton's DL stint is retroactive to Monday, meaning he's eligible to return July 28. To take his roster spot, the A's recalled Wes Bankston from Triple-A Sacramento and started him at first Saturday.
Barton thinks he'll be able to resume his regular baseball activity in less than a week.
"Of course I want to play," Barton said. "But I have to take responsibility for my actions."
First-pitch temperature was 93 degrees on a humid afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Bankston felt the effects. He was removed from the game in the top of the 12th with dehydration, as the A's staff was concerned about cramping that started in his feet and moved into his hands and back.
Geren didn't know Bankston's availability for today's series finale, but with Barton on the DL, the A's could be very thin at first. Jack Hannahan likely would start there, if Bankston can't go.
Outfielder Emil Brown was forced to make his first career appearance at first in the bottom of the 12th Saturday after pinch-hitting for Bankston, with Hannahan already out of the game.
With Justin Duchscherer still feeling the effects of a viral infection, Geren didn't require the pitcher to report to the ballpark Saturday, but Geren said he expected Duchscherer to be able to start today.
Sean Gallagher lasted just five innings in his second start since the A's obtained him in the Rich Harden deal, but he allowed just two runs. "... Among the day's odd moments for the A's: Bankston was called for obstruction in the fourth when he collided with base runner Brett Gardner, who got caught in a rundown and reversed direction after Bankston threw the ball to a teammate. "... Rookie center fielder Carlos Gonzalez dropped a routine fly in the fifth for his first error in the major leagues, though he atoned for it with a terrific, game-saving diving grab in the 11th.
— Joe Stiglich