Checking in from Rangers Ballpark, where it was revealed today that A’s starting pitcher Ben Sheets will miss the rest of the season. He has a torn flexor tendon in his elbow — the same injury that sidelined him for all of 2009 — and will require a second surgery on his elbow. … It’s a very discouraging development for the A’s but not all that surprising, given how frank Sheets was Saturday when he revealed how much his elbow has hurt him all season.
Now it’s guaranteed that Vin Mazzaro will remain in the rotation on a long-term basis, and the A’s will push forward with a starting five of Brett Anderson, Dallas Braden, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Mazzaro. The bad news about Sheets’ diagnosis was offset somewhat by news that Anderson definitely is slated to come off the DL and start Friday against the White Sox. Sidelined since June 3, Anderson said his elbow felt good after throwing his side session Wednesday — the final hurdle before rejoining the rotation.
If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that Oakland’s young core of starters are now guaranteed to remain in the rotation and pitch every fifth day. That will be something to monitor even if the A’s fall completely out of the AL West race. But right now, the A’s are still trying to stay in contention, and winning the final two games of this series against the Rangers would help them do that.
In other news :
–Closer Andrew Bailey (back spasms)will be unavailable yet again tonight. Bailey threw off the mound this afternoon and said he feels good, but it seems the A’s — and Bailey himself — are being extremely cautious. “Physically I feel good,” Bailey said. “But it’s one of those things where you don’t want to rush and (re-injure) it again. We’ve gotta make sure it’s all gone.”
“He feels like he’s very close, but he’s not available tonight,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Geren stressed that the DL is not being considered because Bailey is improving. But with the bullpen basically working a man down, it’s crucial that Cahill pitches deep into tonight’s game. Michael Wuertz, who gave up the game-winning homer last night, should be available in a save situation.
A’s — Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Suzuki C, Cust DH, Kouzmanoff 3B, Ellis 2B, Watson LF, Davis RF, Pennington SS; Cahill RHP.
Rangers — Andrus SS, Borbon CF, Young 3B, Guerrero DH, Hamilton LF, Cruz RF, Molina C, Davis 1B, Blanco 2B; Lewis RHP.