If the Oakland Athletics are able to beat the Kansas City Royals and advance to the American League Division Series, they may have to proceed without catcher Geovany Soto.

The 31-year-old veteran, who was acquired by the A’s in August, was forced from Tuesday night’s Wild Card Game with a thumb injury, per Fox Sports’ MLB Twitter feed:

Soto entered the night with a rock-solid .357 on-base percentage in 49 plate appearances with Oakland, but as ESPN Stats & Info noted, his worth goes beyond the batter’s box:

Hardball Talk’s Matthew Pouliot also noted Soto’s importance with John Jaso sidelined via concussion:

Derek Norris is hitting .270/.361/.403 on the season. He has crushed lefties (.863) but hasn’t been nearly as effective against right-handers (.699 OPS). If Soto is out for an extended period (and Oakland advances), though, Norris will have to step in behind the plate extensively.

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