Gray’s debut date with the A’s will have to wait

The news that Brett Anderson will miss another month, and possibly a good deal more time, is the latest indication that Anderson’s health will be an ongoing concern in Oakland.

For the short term, however, the immediate question his just how the A’s will address the hole left in their starting rotation by Anderson’s stress frature in his right foot.

Sources say there was some conversation about going to the minor leagues and plucking Sonny Gray, who had been on a hot streak with Triple-A Sacramento, although he lost a 7-2 decision to Oklahoma City Thursday, giving up four runs, three earned, in 6.2 innings.

    Gray, the A’s first round draft pick in 2011 out of Vanderbilt, is considered one of the better pitching prospects in the game. There seems to be some question, however, if he’s ready for prime time. He’s having success with the River Cats, and the A’s would like to see him continue to enjoy success and get used to it.

So for the moment, the A’s will stick with Dan Straily, who contributed 39.1 innings and a 3.89 ERA to the A’s pennant drive last year but who has struggled for Oakland in four starts since moving in with Anderson out with a right ankle sprain.

It’s probably the right move for the moment. Straily gets a chance to pitch without thinking he’s a short-timer in the A’s rotation. He club would like to see him just relax and pitcher, and he has yet to relax (1-2 7.27).

At the same time, the 23-year-old Gray gets the work he needs to eventually become the pitcher the A’s believe he can be – a middle-to-top of the rotation pitcher with a long future.

In some other organization there would be suggestions that the club was unwilling to start the clock in terms of Major League service time, but the A’s have been more aggressive than most in that area, and it seems likely if the A’s thought he was ready, he’d be here today.

As for Anderson, it’s hard not to sympathize with a pitcher who has so much talent and who wants to get the chance to show it off. Injury after injury has gotten in his way, and you can only hope for his sake that he’s not one of players who never gets to show his stuff.

“I think I’m one of the best pitchers in the game if I’m healthy,’’ Anderson said before Friday’s game. “I have to stay healthy.’’

So far, he hasn’t. Even when he was pitching every five days in April he bemoaned the fact that little injury issues were the story more than his pitching was. And now they are big injury issues.

John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.

  • Steve Eigenberg

    The A’s should not put the Sacramento wraps on Sonny Gray. If the A’s need another starting pitcher I believe Gray is the best candidate available to fill that role. The A’s have this record of yo-yoing young players back and forth from the Coliseum and Raley Field. Some, such as Grant Green, just seem to get stuck in Sacramento. Sonny Gray has continued to progress with each start for Sacramento. A 4-1 record with a 2.19 ERA is good in any league. Sonny Gray should be in the A’s starting rotation sooner rather than later.