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Sonny Gray to make surprise start Sunday vs. Astros while Rich Hill, still dealing with groin problems, pushed back

Sonny Gray will start Sunday for Oakland instead for Class-A Stockton.

Sonny Gray will start Sunday for Oakland instead for Class-A Stockton.

In a surprise move borne out of a little bit of desperation, Sonny Gray will come off the disabled list to start for the A’s Sunday in Houston against the Astros.

Gray was supposed to throw for class-A Stockton in an injury rehabilitation assignment start, then return to Oakland to pitch next weekend in Cleveland.

But with Jesse Hahn having lasted just two outs on Friday against Houston and with Rich Hill deemed unable to pitch this weekend because of continuing troubles with a achy left groin, the A’s were short of available starting pitchers.

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Will A’s send down Andrew Triggs after he saved bullpen? Tyler Ladendorf answered the call to pitch the eighth inning

Andrew Triggs (60) stepped up for A's Friday, but he might be headed to the minors Saturday.

Andrew Triggs (60) stepped up for A’s Friday, but he might be headed to the minors Saturday.

The A’s were grateful for Andrew Triggs Friday, that he was able to step up when starter Jesse Hahn floundered in the first inning and give Oakland four innings of work out of the bullpen.

Baseball is a tough master, though. And the A’s are likely to show their gratitude Saturday by sending Triggs down to Triple-A Nashville. The A’s are in need of extra bullpen help after the bullpen was forced to eat 7.1 innings of Friday’s 12-2 loss to the Astros, although admittedly one of those innings went to infielder Tyler Ladendorf.

So Triggs won’t be surprised if the A’s decide to send him down and call someone else up. The pitchers at Triple-A Nashville are well rested, the Sounds game Friday at home against Round Rock was rained out.

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A’s scratch Rich Hill from Saturday start with groin issue; Kendall Graveman moves up from Sunday to take over

Rich Hill has been scratched from his scheduled start Saturday by A's.

Rich Hill has been scratched from his scheduled start Saturday by A’s.

The A’s have scratched left-handed starter Rich Hill, who was coming off winning American League Pitcher of the Month honors, for Saturday’s start against the Astros.

Kendall Graveman will get the start, moving up a day from a scheduled Sunday start. Because of Thursday’s day off, Graveman will be going on his regular fifth day turn.

Hill went 5-1 with a 2.13 ERA and 1.026 WHIP as the only steady arm in the A’s rotation in May. He came out of his final start May 29 against the Tigers with some left groin discomfort but was pronounced ready to go before the A’s left Oakland for Houston.

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A’s recalled reliever J.B. Wendelken from Nashville

J.B. Wendelken joins the A's Friday for this weekend's series in Houston

J.B. Wendelken joins A’s Friday

The A’s recalled right-handed J.B. Wendelken from Triple-A Nashville Friday to fill a vacant spot on the roster.

Wendelken, who pitched twice in early May for the A’s, takes the roster spot opened when Oakland sent left-handed starter Eric Surkamp down to the Sounds Thursday.

Wendelken, 23, was picked up from the White Sox when the A’s traded third baseman Brett Lawrie to Chicago in December.

Oakland promoted him to the big leagues on May 8, and he made his Major League debut that day, allowing four runs in 1.1 innings. He also pitched the next day in Boston before being returned to the Sounds.

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A’s defense adding double plays to their repertoire

Marcus Semien is at the heart of an A's defense that is adding double plays to its repertoire.

Marcus Semien is at the heart of an A’s defense that is adding double plays to its repertoire.

Have you noticed something odd about the A’s these days?

No, we’re not talking about the five-game winning streak Oakland brings into Minute Maid Park Friday night in the first of three games against the Astros.

We’re talking about the A’s defense. You know, the much-maligned defense, the one that leads the American League in errors with 37 and the one that has the worst fielding percentage in the league at .982.

Yup, that’s the one.

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Ryan Dull keeps on keeping on by stranding all runners

Ryan Dull picked up his first win of the year Tuesday and still hasn't allowed any of the 21 base runners he's inherited to score.

Ryan Dull picked up his first win of the year Tuesday and still hasn’t allowed any of the 21 base runners he’s inherited to score.

Ryan Dull never gets tired of doing the same thing.

The A’s never get tired of watching him do it.

Dull pitches relief for the A’s, and unglamorous relief at that. He usually gets asked to pitch in the sixth or seventh inning with men on base and the situation dire.

On Tuesday it was the fifth inning, and again the game was in the balance. A soft double had gotten behind right fielder Chris Coghlan and tied the game at 3-all with the Twins. Manager Bob Melvin didn’t think he could go much further with starter Eric Surkamp.

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Gray feels great, could be back in A’s rotation next week

Sonny Gray threw about 50 pitches Tuesday , said he felt great and he could be back in rotation withing a week or so.

Sonny Gray threw about 50 pitches Tuesday , said he felt great and he could be back in rotation withing a week or so.

Things are looking up for the A’s starting rotation, at least that’s the way it seems.

Left-hander Rich Hill, owner of the second-best ERA in the American League at 2.25, says he’s feeling better every day. He’ll test his left groin injury by throwing a bullpen Wednesday that will determine if he’ll be able to start this weekend in Houston.

Sonny Hill threw off the mound Tuesday in three sets of about 15 pitches each, finishing with 50 pitches and said he wasn’t feeling any ill effects from the right trapezius strain that sent him to the disabled list 10 days ago. He threw two sets to bullpen catcher Phil Pohl, then threw to a group of hitters, including bench coach Mark Kotsay, infielder Tyler Ladendorf and outfielder Jake Smolinski – the last time through.

So by this time next week the A’s could have Gray and Hill throwing back-to-back in the rotation.

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A’s are coo coo over return to health of Coco

Coco Crisp is playing every day, and generating offense, including Monday's homer

Coco Crisp is playing every day, and generating offense, including Monday’s homer

It’s a little curious, isn’t it, that in a season where injuries have washed over the A’s more than at any other time in the last four decades, Coco Crisp is the model of health.

Crisp was in and out of the lineup the final two months of the 2014 season with neck and concussion issues, and similar problems, not to mention elbow surgery in spring training, limited him to just 44 games last year.

This year, when the A’s had a peak of 13 players on the disabled list at one time and when Crisp was supposed to be a part-time player, he’s shown nothing but stamina, durability and, oh yeah, some of that old Coco style.

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Rich Hill gets extra time thanks to off-day heavy schedule

Rich Hill will be getting a little extra time for his groin injury to recover thanks to off-days built into A's schedule.

Rich Hill will be getting a little extra time for his groin injury to recover thanks to off-days built into A’s schedule.

The A’s are feeling a little more kindly to the schedule maker because it may well mean top starter Rich Hill will miss less time.

With the A’s due for days off Thursday, next Monday and again next Thursday, this stretch of the schedule seemed like off-day overkill, and the A’s grumbled some.

Now it seems that Hill, at 8-3 and with a second-in-the-American League 2.25 ERA, will be able to turn that to his advantage, getting an extra day or two off to deal with a mild groin injury. Manager Bob Melvin said before Monday’s game that Hill will get one extra day off, no matter what.

Because of the off day Thursday, Monday starter Kendall Graveman would be able to pitch on his regular fifth day Friday in Houston, the day that would be Hill’s sixth day, so Hill could be pushed back to Saturday against the Astros without difficulty.

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