It turns out Ben Sheets’ road back to a major league mound will be tougher than expected. The A’s announced that Sheets had reconstruction surgery on his ulnar collateral ligament (a.k.a. Tommy John surgery) as part of an extensive procedure done Monday on his right elbow. Originally, Sheets said he only needed flexor tendon surgery, which he figured would sideline him for all of 2011. Recovery from Tommy John surgery typically takes 12 to 18 months, so it figures that he could miss the start of the 2012 campaign as well. He also had the pronator tendon repaired in his elbow.
Sheets, 32, wasn’t even certain he’d be able to come back from the flexor tendon procedure, so now it stands to reason he faces even longer odds of being able to pitch again. That’s sad to hear for a guy who’s still relatively young, but when Sheets spoke on a media conference call two weeks ago, he seemed to have a healthy outlook on his future, whether it includes baseball or not …
–There’s not much else to report from the A’s clubhouse. Kurt Suzuki gets a start at DH with Landon Powell catching, and Adam Rosales draws a start at shortstop against lefty Luke French.
–Conor Jackson will join Single-A Stockton tonight and play seven innings in the outfield, so his comeback from a hamstring injury is kicking into gear at long last.
The roof is open on a gorgeous day here in Seattle, perfect for baseball. Here’s the lineups:
A’s — Crisp CF, Barton 1B, Suzuki DH, Kouzmanoff 3B, Rosales SS, Ellis 2B, Davis RF, Carter LF, Powell C; Braden LHP.
Mariners — Ichiro RF, Figgins 2B, Lopez 3B, Branyan DH, Gutierrez CF, Kotchman 1B, Bard C, Tuiasosopo LF, Wilson SS; French LHP.