OAKLAND _ A 4-2 win by the A’s over the Detroit Tigers Sunday was so uplifting even the bad news seemed good. Continue Reading
Sonny Gray and R.J. Alvarez threw bullpen sessions for the A’s Saturday morning, and both pitchers could be ready to return to the A’s before too long.
Manager Bob Melvin said Gray, who threw upwards of three dozen pitches in his session, “was letting it go.’’ It was the most substantial work yet for Gray since going on the disabled list with a right trapezius strain.
“We’ll have him throw off the big mound here Tuesday,’’ the manager said. “It will be up and down, but not with any hitters yet. We’re just looking for health from him.’’
Melvin said no decision has been made yet on whether Gray would need an injury rehabilitation start or a simulated game before returning to the rotation. He’s eligible to come off the DL a week from Sunday with the club in Houston.
Alvarez, who’d hoped to establish himself in the A’s bullpen this year, hasn’t pitched in a game yet after having elbow surgery March 29. He’s had a couple of throwing sessions on the side and on Saturday did up and down sessions, simulating innings, although not facing any hitters.
One of the oldest sayings about baseball is that on any given day you can see something you’ve never seen before.
Friday’s Oakland-Detroit game was one of those given days.
The Tigers thought they’d scored in the fifth inning when Ian Kinsler tagged up and tried to score from third after A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso made an over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory.
Alonso came up throwing, and Kinsler stopped. But when the ball skittered past catcher Steve Vogt at the plate, Kinsler was able to cross the plate uncontested.
Except that home plate umpire Joe West pointed at Kinsler and said two words: “You’re out.’’
Neither side protested, and the game went on, but it took a while for the assembled multitude in the press box to sort out exactly why Kinsler was out. It turned out that the man who hit the foul ball, Victor Martinez was nicked on the foot by the throw, and that constituted interference that didn’t elude West’s vision. He said there were three different parts of the rule book that said so.
The A’s were, however, a little slow to grasp it.
The A’s welcomed Josh Phegley back from the disabled list Friday, the second time in three days the A’s have subtracted from the DL rather an adding to it, which the club had been doing for most of April and May.
There’s no telling who could be the next name off the list, but it’s possible it will be starter Sonny Gray joining Phegley and Jed Lowrie, who was activated Wednesday.
The staff ace threw on the side both Thursday and Friday and he’s scheduled for a bullpen session Saturday. Gray is eligible to come off the disabled list a week from Sunday when the A’s are in Houston, and manager Bob Melvin said that day or shortly thereafter Gray could be back if he continues to be without
Much has been made of the A’s issues with pitchers having to undergo ligament replacement in the pitching elbow, or as it’s better known, Tommy John surgery.
Jarrod Parker has not pitched since 2013, twice having undergone Tommy John surgery. This year alone, Felix Doubront and Chris Bassitt have had Tommy John procedures. Each man will miss all of 2016. Just when or if any of the three will pitch in 2017 is up in the air.
There is an upside to all this Tommy John angst. His name is Fernando Rodriguez.
Rodriguez could hit 96, maybe 97 mph on the radar gun on a good day in his first three big league seasons with the Angels, then the Astros. The A’s picked him up before the 2013 with the id that he’d be a strong middle innings reliever, but almost immediately that was scuttled by his needing Tommy John surgery.
Assuming you consider any injury news that doesn’t involve the A’s putting someone on the disabled list to be good news, then the A’s had a very good day on the injury front Wednesday.
The activated second baseman Jed Lowrie from the disabled list and said that catcher Josh Phegley would be able to come off the DL on Friday.
Henderson Alvarez, he of the sore shoulder, seems to be past the bulk of the soreness and has begun to throw. He threw up to 75 feet Tuesday and 90 feet Wednesday. The progression will get him to 105 feet, then 120, after which it will be time to get him back on a mound and back on track to rejoining the A’s rotation, probably in mid-June or a little later.
The A’s have struggled to find any kind of identity this year, and the struggle continued when Oakland bullpen couldn’t hold off the first-place Mariners, who rallied for two-run homers in the eighth and ninth to escape with a 6-5 walkoff win.
Even in defeat, outfielder Coco Crisp is doing what he can to give the A’s an identity. They were winners back when he was healthy from 2012-14, going to the post-season each year during that stretch.
He was mostly a non-factor with neck problems in 2015 when the club finished dead last, and coming into to this season he was seen as a fourth outfielder, having ceded both center field and the leadoff spot to Billy Burns.
Yonder Alonso didn’t have a hit Monday night in Safeco Field, although it took a nice running catch from former Giant Nori Aoki to deny him.
Nonetheless, Alonso had a quietly huge night for the A’s in a 5-0 win over the Mariners.
In the second inning, he helped starter Rich Hill get out of a bases-loaded jam by spearing a grounder at first base hit by Aoki and throwing a strike to the plate for a force.
In the ninth inning, with Ryan Madson pitching in relief, Alonso snared a bullet off the bat of Dae-Ho Lee and turned what could have been an RBI double into a double play, snuffing out almost the Mariners’ last breath.
The A’s have almost gotten too used to the smooth defense Alonso brings to first base, although pitcher after pitcher, including Hill Monday, is sure to point out the high level at which Alonso is playing defense.
As expected, the A’s will go with Zach Neal in Wednesday’s final game of the series in Seattle.
Neal, 27, will be making his first big league start in what will be his second big league game as he takes the spot in the rotation of Sonny Gray, who went on the disabled list Sunday with a strained right trapezius.
Manager Bob Melvin said the club was impressed with Neal in his May 11 appearance in relief. At that time he was being called up just to give the battered A’s bullpen some support. He wound up pitching three innings. And while he gave up three runs, he was one out away from allowing just one run before a two-out, ninth inning homer by Jackie Bradley Jr., who remains one of the hottest hitters in the game.
Neal has been among the best pitchers in the Pacific Coast League, owning a 5-1 record and 2.53 ERA. His normal day in the Triple-A Nashville rotation would be Tuesday, so he’ll be pitching with an extra days’ rest.
OAKLAND — Dealt another medical punch to their ailing roster earlier Sunday, the A’s badly needed a splash of something good on the field.
They did not get it.
The Yankees rallied to beat the A’s 5-4, completing the first four-game sweep in Oakland by a visiting team in 17 years.
On a day the A’s placed ace Sonny Gray on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his neck and shoulder area — officially a strained right trapezius — manager Bob Melvin had hoped his starter Sunday, Jesse Hahn, would give the team a lengthy outing.