The uneasy balance between healthful prudence and competitive drive showed itself in spring training in the person of A’s starter Jarrod Parker.
Parker had forearm problems in September and October that he had checked out after the season. Rest was the prescription, and for the offseason Parker did as prescribed, and he didn’t feel any discomfort in his arm.
The early days of spring weren’t bad, but the more he threw, the more he had trouble getting comfortable or even throwing without pain.
He tried to pitch through it hoping things would clear up, but on Thursday’s side session, both pitching coach Curt Young and manager Bob Melvin noticed his struggles. Melvin called him into his office, and it was then that Parker admitted the pain was back.
Does it mean that the diagnosis this winter to rest was wrong? Not necessarily. For one thing, until Parker is checked out by Dr. James Andrews, there’s no knowing what the problem is. For another, while the discomfort is in the same area, it’s not the same pain, at least in Parker’s thinking.
That last bit is actually not good news for the A’s, because a new type of pain in the same area could mean a different and potentially more troublesome medical issue.
Parker said Saturday the competitive side of him won out until this week.
“It’s tough to tell (if it’s an injury),’’ he said. “At this time of spring, everybody’s arm is sore. (Trying to pitch through it) is just how I am. It’s tough for me to do to go in and say I’m hurting.
“But Curt and Bob could tell. They do a good job of knowing us.’’
Now the A’s have to hope they’ve caught the problem in its infant stages and before it’s become a full-blown issue.