The A’s probably won’t have the services of Dallas Braden for awhile, but at least there is still hope that he can help them at some point in the first half of the season. After being examined in New York Monday for a left shoulder setback, Braden received a platelet rich plasma injection and will be shut down completely for three weeks. But there doesn’t appear to be any structural issues, which is always good news when you’re talking about a shoulder. It remains to be seen how big of a step Braden will have to take once he begins throwing again, but manager Bob Melvin said he shouldn’t have to make up as much ground as he did following the surgery.
So where does that put him date-wise as far as a return, provided there are no setbacks? Good question. He won’t be able to throw again until late April, and he’ll probably need another three weeks to build back up to where he was. He’ll probably require some rehab starts once he is ready to pitch in a game. So maybe early to mid-June? That’s nothing more than an estimate, but we’re in a real grey area with Braden until he actually gets back on a mound throwing to live hitters. It could be longer. Thankfully, it doesn’t sound like his setback is career-threatening at this point.
It’s hardly a surprise Daric Barton was placed on the 15-day disabled list to start the season. He was sounding pretty unsure he was ready in a chat I had with him Monday night. He just hasn’t played enough, particularly in consecutive games, and as he said, he hasn’t had to cut loose with a really hard throw yet. He’ll probably get some more extended spring work to build up his stamina. Melvin said his D assignment is back-dated into March, so he’ll be able to come off April 9. It remains to be seen if he’ll be ready even then. Hence, for now, the A’s will go with Brandon Allen and Kila Ka’aihue at first base.
RHP Joey Devine had an MRI on his surgically repaired elbow to determine why he has had recurring issues with flexor tendinitis ever since he had Tommy John surgery in 2009. Devine is hoping it doesn’t have to involve surgery, but wants to get to the bottom of the issue after trying all manner of treatment with no real success. Results of the MRI should come back Wednesday or Thursday.
Shortstop Cliff Pennington, nursing some slight groin tightness, took the night off against the Giants and may not play Wednesday at AT&T Park. Melvin doesn’t want to take any unnecessary risks with his starting shortstop, and believes Pennington has had enough ABs anyway to be ready to pick things up Friday in the home opener against Seattle.
The A’s have just one roster move to make to get down to 25. It’ll almost certainly be either Graham Godfrey or Tyson Ross heading to Sacramento to start the season since the A’s won’t need a fifth starter until mid-April. The A’s will likely make the announcement Wednesday instead of after tonight’s game.
Yoenis Cespedes is definitely worth watching during batting practice. Tuesday night, he nearly hit one to the lower luxury box windows in left field, a poke that would have made Jose Canseco sit up and take notice. This guy really might hit 30 homers for the A’s if he can make consistent contact, because when he connects, the ball goes. His double at AT&T Park Monday night was a laser shot.