Game 96 wrapup: Gray is gone, but perhaps not for long after impressive first big league stop

Sonny Gray was called aside by manager Bob Melvin after Friday’s 4-1 loss to the Angels and told he was being sent down to Triple-A Sacramento.

It wasn’t unexpected. Gray was called up to pitch for the A’s as long as they didn’t need fifth starter Dan Straily.

Oakland needs Straily to start Saturday, so the need is there, and it was evident all along that Gray’s stay would be short.

    He threw two scoreless innings of relief Friday against the Angels, and in two appearances with Oakland threw four innings, allowing two hits, one walk and struck out six.

If it wasn’t good enough to allow him to stay in the big leagues for now, it was enough for Melvin to predict that Gray’s time is not far off.

“I thought he was terrific,’’ Melvin said. “He was up here throwing four pitches for strikes, fastball, curve, slider and change. He’s got all the weapons.’’

The thing is that the A’s don’t need a starting pitcher right now. Eventually, they will either through injury, ineffectiveness or trade, and Gray is the club’s first line of defense for when that happens.

“There’s no reason to have him here pitching out of the bullpen,’’ Melvin said. “He will be a factor here. And now he goes down there knowing `I can pitch up here.’ ’’

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.