The A’s have been getting uniformly good news about their players on the disabled list until Friday, when the club said starter A.J. Griffin had to be shut down after two innings of what had been projected as a three-inning simulated game.
The good news for the A’s is that Griffin’s discomfort is in the right shoulder and not in the right elbow where he had Tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery a year ago.
But any setback of more than a few days could cut into the amount of mound time Griffin will get this year.
“He had some shoulder soreness, so we’re going to bring him to Oakland,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “We’re hoping it’s just some inflammation. It’s not the elbow, it’s the shoulder. So when we get home, we’ll take a look again and have a better idea how we’re going to handle it.’’
To this point, Griffin, who had his surgery on April 30, 2014, had not had any significant surgery since undergoing the surgery.
–In other injury news, Melvin said second baseman Ben Zobrist (left meniscus surgery) won’t take any batting practice until the A’s are home Monday.
“He’ll have some dry swing with the fungo,’’ Melvin said. “Hopefully when we get home he’ll be able to take some BP. Everything’s going really well with him.
And starter Jarrod Parker, who like Griffin is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, was down to throw 90 pitches in an injury rehabilitation start for Triple-A Nashville Friday night.
–Angel (pronounced Ang-hell) Castro, who has spent a lifetime trying to get to the majors, finally made it when the A’s plucked him off the Nashville roster Friday, moving reliever R.J. Alvarez back to the Sounds at the same time.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the A’s once again put outfielder Alex Hasson on the designated for assignment list, giving Oakland 10 days to trade him, release him or, should he clear waivers, sign him to a minor league deal.
Oakland is the sixth Major League organization for which the 32-year-old Castro has pitched, and that doesn’t count two separate stops in Mexico and one in Japan.
“I’ve very happy; after all this time, the hard work I’ve put in has paid off,’’ Castro said through fellow reliever Fernando Rodriguez, who was interpreting for him. “It was a complete surprise. I had no idea I was going to get this opportunity.
“I always had the idea of being here, and now I have the opportunity.’’
Castro started twice and pitched in relief four times for the Sounds, going 0-1 with a 3.79 ERA. More significant for an A’s team tied for third in the American League in walks allowed (95), he’d walked just three while striking out 20 in 19 innings.
“We’re trying to find some guys who can throw the ball over the plate a little more consistently,’’ Melvin said. “Obviously the organization has shown they want to find the right group. And you always feel good about a guy who’s been at it that long and now gets his first crack at the big leagues.’’
Rodriguez, who was with Castro this season at Nashville until being called up himself Thursday, said the right-hander throws mid- to high- 90s with his fastball and his slider has been particularly effective this year.
Castro is no stranger to throwing to big league hitters, even if he’s never been in the Major Leagues. He was a teammate of the Mariners’ Fernando Rodney, Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, among others.
–A’s closer Sean Doolittle cleared a mental barrier as well as a physical one in throwing to hitter for the first time before Friday’s game in Safeco Field.
With right-hander Max Muncy and lefty Josh Phegley alternately stepping in against him. Doolittle threw 15 pitches off the mound and came out of the experience feeling strong and ready for the next step, which will likely be a bullpen session Monday in Oakland.
“It went really well,’’ Doolittle said. “It’s important o face hitters, because there are things you can’t simulate when you are just throwing to the catch. It moves it up a little.’’
The left-hander still doesn’t have an idea when he might be back or even when the A’s might have him scheduled for an injury rehabilitation assignment. General manager Billy Beane told this newspaper Sunday that his expectation was that Doolittle would be back by the end of this month.
“We’re going to stick to my normal spring training pace,’’ Doolittle said, “so I’ll know that I’ll be ready when I finally come off the disabled list.’’
–The A’s made a couple of minor league moves Friday, getting outfielder Matt Carson, who played for the A’s for a bit in 2009-10 and who has also played for the Indians and Twins, from the Dodgers in a straight cash deal.
Some of that cash may have come from the Angels, who acquired right-handed pitcher Chad Smith from the A’s in another cash-only deal. The A’s designated Smith for assignment Thursday when they called up Rodriguez.