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It’s no stretch to say Pomeranz making big impression

Drew Pomeranz is firing bullets for the A's these days.

Drew Pomeranz is firing bullets for the A’s these days.

Drew Pomeranz may not make the A’s pitching staff to start the season.

But it’s no stretch to say that he could do so, especially after his last two games, five innings of relief in which he’s struck out eight and allowed one hit. Three scoreless innings Wednesday gave him the win in the A’s 13-3 blowout of the Indians in Goodyear, Ariz.

And it’s his stretch that he credits with helping him get command of his 95-mph fastball and breaking pitches, all of which have looked dynamic in the last few days.

“I’m just here trying to pitch well,’’ Pomeranz said. “Lots of strikes.’’

He’s done that, opening eyes with both his fastball and his breaking pitches, all of which have been basically unhittable the last few days.

He came to the A’s as the big prize in the trade of left-handed starter Brett Anderson to the Rockies over the winter. When the A’s made the deal they were perhaps thinking of future potential, but Pomeranz’s time could be closer than you’d think.

“I wanted to simplify things for myself,’’ he said in explaining why he now throws exclusively from the stretch rather than going through a full windup.

“I did it at the end of last year (with the Rockies) and it seemed to work for me,’’ Pomeranz said. “And I’ve found that the simpler I can make it, the easier it is to pitch.’’

Pomeranz is making decision making tough on manager Bob Melvin, who’d’ been thinking that Pomeranz might be a good fit as the first starter recalled from Triple-A Sacramento. Now, the A’s have to consider if Pomeranz is instead the A’s best fit as the long man in the bullpen and spot starter.

“As long as he’s throwing the ball over the plate,’’ the manager said, “he’ll be fine.’’

The manager was impressed that Pomeranz went two innings the last time out and three innings this time. And the fact that he’s been dominating hasn’t hurt.

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Moss says Cespedes’s average is not a cause for concern

Brandon Moss is batting cleanup Wednesday, but he still has high hopes for regular cleanup man Yoenis Cespedes

Brandon Moss is batting cleanup today, but he has high hopes for regular cleanup man Yoenis Cespedes

Brandon Moss is the A’s cleanup hitter today against the Cleveland Indians in Goodyear, Ariz.

It’s one of a handful of times that Moss has hit cleanup this spring.

“I’ve done it before on days when (Yoenis) Cespedes hasn’t been in the lineup,’’ Moss said.

Today, Cespedes is in the lineup.

Manager Bob Melvin says there’s no reason to read too much into the lineup. He said he just wanted to have a left-handed bat between two right-handed hitters, Josh Donaldson and Cespedes. The implication was that Cespedes’ .128 average this spring had nothing to do with the move.

And Moss said that Cespedes’ average shouldn’t be a matter of great concern.

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Analyzing Parker’s chances of a good Tommy John outcome

I spent some time talking with an orthopedic surgeon and came out of feeling a little less confident about the chances of a full recovery for Jarrod Parker when he undergoes Tommy John surgery next week.

At first it seemed to me that the chances for Parker to come back as good as new after what would be his second Tommy John surgery were a little more than 50-50.

But after my conversation with the surgeon, who has worked on pro, college and recreational athletes for years and who asked not to be named, it seems that maybe the chances are a little less than 50-50.

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Game 5 start in ALCS vs. Tigers put Gray in line for opener

Sonny Gray is the last  man standing in drive to start opener for the A's

Sonny Gray is the last man standing in drive to start opener for the A’s March 31.

Nothing is official, but the A’s have an opening day starting pitcher.

His name is Sonny Gray.

The 24-year-old, with just 10 big league starts to his name, was being considered for the job all along, but it seemed likely the call would go to Jarrod Parker or, perhaps, newcomer Scott Kazmir.

Parker is out for the season with the news that he needs a second Tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow and forearm.

As for Kazmir, he was scratched from his start Monday because of triceps pain. He was pain-free Tuesday and wanted to pitch, but the A’s have decided that he’ll throw a bullpen session, probably Wednesday, then return to the starting rotation Saturday.

That rules him out for the opener, because to get to March 31 against the Indians, he’d either have to pitch on long rest or on short rest. The A’s aren’t going to have him do that for the sake of one game, so that leaves Gray to pitch the opener and Kazmir to follow him in Game 2 against Cleveland, the team for which he pitched last year.

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With options gone, Gimenez, Taylor may move on

With under two weeks to go in spring training, the A’s have more roster decisions to make before opening day than they would have believed even a few days ago, thanks to news that Jarrod Parker (Tommy John surgery) and A.J. Griffin (elbow/forearm) won’t be available when the Indians come to town March 31.

It’s not all about the pitching, however, even if it seems like it sometimes.

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Parker trying to get mind around 2nd Tommy John surgery

Jarrod Parker returned to the A’s Tuesday, the morning after learning he would need a second Tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow and forearm.

He’d had a little time to get his mind around the repeat surgery, which will take place next Tuesday in Pensacola, Fla. under Dr. James Andrews’ care.

“I was upset,’’ Parker said of his mindset coming out of the Monday meeting with Andrews. “It’s not one of those things that you can go in prepared for. You think you are, but really, you can’t prepare for that.’’

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Scribner at head of scramble for jobs in A’s bullpen

If Ryan Cook isn't ready to pitch out of the bullpen come Opening Day, A's could have three bullpen decisions to make

If Ryan Cook isn’t ready to pitch come Opening Day, A’s could have three bullpen decisions to make

Don’t look now, but there’s space for new faces in what a month ago was a relatively closed A’s bullpen.

The A’s won’t have Jesse Chavez in the bullpen now that he’s been moved into the rotation. There was a 50-50 chance that Tommy Milone was going to be the long man in the pen, but he’s in the rotation, too.

So what had been a set seven-man staff now has a couple of openings, with at least one of them likely to go to a left-hander. Closer Jim Johnson, right-handed setup men Ryan Cook, Luke Gregerson and Dan Otero are set, as in lefty Sean Doolittle, although even there, Cook might not be ready to start the season in the bullpen because of shoulder issues.

The non-left-handed slot is likely to go to Evan Scribner, who has been on top of his game since the start of spring training and who has put up good numbers in five of his six appearances.

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What are the chances of a complete return for Parker?

The A’s are hitting the reset button with their starting rotation with the news that probable opening day starter Jarrod Parker will undergo Tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow and miss the entire 2014 season.

It’s the second time since 2009 that Parker will have Dr. James Andrews perform the surgery. There is a relatively small sample size to determine the success rate of pitchers who have had multiple Tommy John operations, but it’s becoming more and more frequent.

“Unfortunately, there is more data on this than there was four years ago,’’ Oakland assistant general manager David Forst said. “In the last week (the subject) has come up a number of times. It’s hard to predict right now. You don’t know the recovery rate on guys with a second Tommy John. It’s unfortunate that it’s more frequent.’’

According to some medical estimates, the success for the surgery is 90 percent; after a second surgery the number drops to 60 percent.

Former A’s reliever Jason Isringhausen had the surgery three times and came back to pitch each time.

Talking about the multiple surgeries with the Washington Post in 2012, Isringhausen laid out the path ahead of Parker.

“You really have to follow the protocol and do what is asked of you by the doctors and therapists so you don’t re-injure the graft in your elbow,’’ Isringhausen said. “I think that’s the main thing: patience. Because you feel really good really quick, and you want to throw, and then all you can do when you do that is tear it up again.’’

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Jarrod Parker will miss 2014 with 2nd Tommy John surgery

Jarrod Parker facing the Dodgers in his last spring start before injury problems cropped up

Jarrod Parker facing the Dodgers in his last spring start before injury problems cropped up

The A’s starting rotation got walloped with bad news Monday with the determination that right-hander Jarrod Parker will miss the 2014 season.

Parker, who has been dealing with right forearm discomfort, met with Dr. James Andrews Monday in Florida, and the decision has been made that Parker needs Tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery.

It’s the second go-around with Tommy John surgery for Parker, who had it in 2009 and missed the 2010 season. He’s scheduled to under the surgery a week from Tuesday in Pensacola with Andrews in charge.

The A’s are already missing starter A.J. Griffin to being the season. He needs three weeks rest for elbow strain before he throws again

Scott Kazmir was scratched from his start Monday, but his triceps stiffness is considered relatively minor and he could start again Tuesday or Wednesday.

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Regardless of numbers, it’s a stretch for Taylor with A’s

The A’s backup outfield job was originally supposed to go to Craig Gentry, and while Gentry had a full workout Monday, things have changed because Gentry’s ongoing recovery from back pain may well keep him from starting the season on the roster.

The options then for the A’s are Sam Fuld, signed as a free agent, or Michael Taylor, who is out of options after playing his entire career in the A’s minor league system.

Taylor’s having a big sprint with a .310 average and just Sunday threw out a runner at the plate from right field. And while the A’s like to hold on to players who are out of options, it’s difficult seeing how Taylor makes the team no matter how good his spring is.

Because both Brandon Moss and Daric Barton seem locked in at first base/DH, there are only four open outfield spots on the roster. And manager Bob Melvin Monday said that the ability to play center field is a major factor in the decision-making process for someone to play behind Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick.

Gentry can play center. And so can Fuld, who has a deal in his contract that he can walk as a free agent later this month if he’s not on the roster. Taylor is seen as a corner outfielder only.

Now since Gentry is likely back in early April, the A’s could go for a week or two with Taylor and without a true backup center fielder, knowing they could shove Cespedes into the role for a game or two if needed. Moss can move to left, freeing up Cespedes, if needed.

But if they stick to their center field predilection, it seems that Fuld’s the guy over Taylor, if for no other reason than the club might be able to hold onto him for the season.

That being the case, it would make sense for the A’s to try and trade Taylor in the next week or so because they risk losing him now that he’s out of options and is unlikely to make the roster.