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Doolittle ready for a rehab assignment, no updates on Parker or Griffin

Sean Doolittle faced live hitters for the second time Monday and his next step will be a minor league rehab appearance.

Sean Doolittle faced live hitters for the second time Monday and his next step will be a minor league rehab appearance.

OAKLAND — The A’s are back home after a miserable road trip that concluded with a three-game sweep in Seattle and are looking for any slivers of good news.

There might be at least one. All-Star closer Sean Doolittle threw to live hitters for the second time Monday. The session went well and his next step is a rehabilitation assignment.

“Really happy with how things went,” said Doolittle, out with a strained left rotator cuff. “I feel like I was able to move the ball around and changed speeds, changed eye level, move the fastball up and down around the zone. Really excited about it.”

A’s manager Bob Melvin confirmed that Doolittle’s next session will come in a rehab assignment, although the date and location hasn’t been determined. Continue Reading

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Nolin’s role could expand quickly with A’s pitching issues

Just a week ago, it seemed like Sean Nolin would have to wait in line to join the A’s starting rotation after he got healthy.

With the news that Jarrod Parker has been shut down after suffering a fractured medial epicondyle and that another recovering Tommy John starting pitcher, A.J. Griffin, has developed some shoulder pain, Nolin’s path to a spot in the A’s rotation could be expedited.

He’s coming back from a sports hernia surgery from this off-season. Saturday he pitched two innings in relief for Triple-A Nashville, and the next time out he’ll get a start.

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Semien doesn’t make big deal of two homers off Felix

Marcus Semien has hit five homers this year, two of them Sunday off Felix Hernandez

Marcus Semien has hit five homers this year, two of them Sunday off Felix Hernandez

Coming into Saturday’s game, Marcus Semien and Stephen Vogt both shaved their beards.

Since then, Semien is 6-for-9 with two homers and Vogt, who got Saturday off and started Sunday is 3-for-4 with a homer.

Baseball players are a superstitious lot. Are the superstitious enough to follow the Semien/Vogt lead in an effort to get more hits?

“I don’t know,’’ Vogt said, laughing, one of the few light moments in the A’s clubhouse after a fifth consecutive loss Sunday, 4-3 to the Mariners.

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Doolittle, Melvin reaching out to Parker after surgery and get slightly different takes on pitcher’s emotional roller-coaster

Jarrod Parker has suffered a medial epicondyle fracture and there's no telling when he might be pitching again.

Jarrod Parker has suffered a medial epicondyle fracture and there’s no telling when he might be pitching again.

Sean Doolittle and Bob Melvin both have spent plenty of time in the last 49 hours on the phone with Jarrod Parker after news broke of his elbow injury which turned out to be a fractured medial epicondyle that may necessitate a third Tommy John surgery for the A’s starting pitcher.

Doolittle considers Parker one of his best friends in the game and Melvin has a long bond with the pitch dating to the time when both were in the Arizona organization.

Talking with the two of them, you get the sense that Parker’s emotions are in a state of ebb and flow. He’d been perhaps 10 days away from returning to the big leagues, and now he is faced with the possibility of starting from scratch, although that is yet to be determined.

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A’s defense looks lots worse than 2014’s, but maybe isn’t

Marcus Semien has had good days and bad ones at short. Saturday he committed two errors.

Marcus Semien has had good days and bad ones at short. Saturday he committed two errors.

When Marcus Semien made two errors, one fielding a grounder, one throwing the ball, in the first inning, that got the errors total for the A’s to 30 in 32 games.

That seems like a lot – that is a lot – but a quick check of last year showed that the A’s got to the 30-error mark in their 33rd game.

The difference may be one of perception. Oakland was winning in those 33 games last year, a 19-14 record that included a two-game lead in the American League West. This time around, the 32-game total includes a 12-20 record that has the A’s 8.5 games out of first place. Only Milwaukee, 10-21 and 12.5 games out of first in the National League Central, is further from the top spot in its division.

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Does fracture mean Parker’s best route back is in relief? Trainer: A’s need to `figure out best way to get this healed’

There is no way for the A’s to do anything but wince at the news that starting pitcher Jarrod Parker suffered a fractured medial epicondyle when he felt his elbow explode while delivering a pitch in the sixth inning for Nashville Friday.

He went from being perhaps 10 days away from a return to the Oakland organization to being back wondering if he will ever pitch again.

Not to be alarmist, but the epicondyle is one of the bones a Tommy John graft is typically hooked up to. Depending on where the fracture is Parker could simply need the fracture to be repaired or he might need the whole Tommy John surgery for a third time.

Tommy John procedures have gotten exponentially better over the last two decades, but historically repeat procedures have been much less effective, although former A’s reliever Jason Isringhausen had the procedure done three times and continued to pitch.

The thing is, most of the pitchers who have had successful multiple Tommy John surgeries have been relievers. If Parker comes back successfully, whether or not he needs another full Tommy John process, he may be looking at being a reliever as being his best shot.

There’s no telling which direction this thing will take.

“We have to figure out what the best option is to get this thing healed,’’ A’s trainer Nick Paparesta said. “Find out if the graft is still intact and if everything is the way it should be and figure out what we need to get done and when. They won’t know until they get in and do the fracture.’’

Jesse Hahn, who had a Tommy John surgery in 2010, knows exactly where the bone is and exactly what the fracture may mean. He called it “terrible news.’’

And so it is. Parker has had the promise of being a rising start in American League pitching ranks until 14 months ago, when discomfort in his elbow led to him needing a second Tommy John surgery. He’d been progressing without pain, throwing harder all the time, to the point where he could visualize stepping back into the rotation, a vision the A’s could share.

Now all that is gone. Parker may not have to go back to starting all over, but it’s clear that his return has been sidetracked at the very least. And if he is finally able to return, it may not be as a starter.

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The news on Parker isn’t good: medial epicondyle fracture

Jarrod Parker has suffered a medial epicondyle fracture and there's no telling when he might be pitching again.

Jarrod Parker has suffered a medial epicondyle fracture and there’s no telling when he might be pitching again.

The A’s Jarrod Parker has suffered a fracture of the right medial epicondyle, one of the anchors in the arm of a Tommy John surgery, and he is being sent home pending some appointment with doctors.

Parker, hurt throwing a pitch in the sixth inning Friday for Nashville on an injury rehabilitation assignment, was checked out by Vanderbilt’s Dr. David Liddle Saturday. Parker’s arm was both X-rayed and subjected to a CT-scan.

“We don’t know how much this is going to set back his recovery at this point in time,’’ A’s trainer Nick Paparesta said after the A’s 7-2 loss to Seattle. “He’s going to go home, where we’re going to set him up to see some specialists and see what our options are.

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A’s trade for bullpen depth, get Mujica from Red Sox

The A’s, desperate for some pitching help, made a deal with the Red Sox Saturday night that brings right-hander Edward Mujica and cash in exchange for a player to be named later, or cash.

Boston put Mujica, who turns 31 Sunday, on the designated for assignment list Friday after he was 1-1 with a 4.61 ERA in 11 games with the Red Sox who, curiously enough, open the next A’s homestand Monday.

The A’s moved Jarrod Parker onto the 60-day disabled list to acquire Mujica and will make a 25-man roster move when he reports.

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Kinsley Otero has an affirmative message for her dad

Dan Otero is working to get past his early-season struggles, including Friday's game-losing homer.

Dan Otero is working to get past his early-season struggles, including Friday’s game-losing homer.

Dan Otero’s night ended well Friday. If you don’t think so, then consider that Otero’s night didn’t end with the one-pitch walkoff homer in the 11th inning hit by Logan Morrison to give Seattle a 4-3 win.

This being Mother’s Day weekend, his wife, Tiffany, and his daughter, Kinsley, are in town so the family can be together.

“You have to be able to get past something like that,’’ Otero said. “Fortunately for me, my wife and my daughter were here, and because of that you know that this is just a job and there will be another day.

“My daughter is 21 months now, and she doesn’t care if I’ve struck out 18 guys or if I’ve given up 14 homers. She’s just happy to see me. And I’m happy to see her.’’

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