Watch as A’s pitcher Jarrod Parker injures his right arm Friday night during a rehab assignment with Nashville, the A’s Triple-A affiliate.
The A’s have moved into last place in the American League West, a position they never envisioned for themselves.
But a 4-3 loss to the previous tenants of that slot, the Seattle Mariners, has Oakland 12-19 after 31 games and more than a little tired of all the different ways they’ve found to lose.
This time it was one pitch in the 11th inning, Dan Otero getting taken over the wall in right-center by Logan Morrison to break a 3-all tie.
“It’s getting to the point where it’s very frustrating,’’ right fielder Josh Reddick said. “I’m not going to bad-mouth anybody. These guys are here for a reason, they’re big league pitchers and they’re really good at what they do.
In the off-season the A’s went out and made a flurry of trades, most of them designed to bring in more starting pitching.
Oakland got Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman from the Blue Jays, Chris Bassitt from the White Sox and Jesse Hahn from the Padres.
Friday’s news underscores why Oakland management felt the need to do that. The A’s started the day by announcing that A.J. Griffin, one of the club’s two pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery, had to be shut down in a simulated game Friday because of shoulder discomfort.
Then 2,400 miles away in Nashville, Jarrod Parker, making what might have been his next-to-last start before rejoining the A’s 14 months after his second Tommy John surgery, collapsed on the field after throwing a pitch, apparently injuring his elbow.
The A’s had been hoping that Jarrod Parker would rejoin the Oakland starting rotation later this month, but that apparently will be put on hold after Parker came out of his start in Nashville with an apparent elbow injury.
The A’s front office said in a brief email that Parker left the game with an elbow injury and that there would be no definitive details or diagnosis until he sees a doctor.’’
Tweets from people in attendance said Parker left after throwing a sixth inning wild pitch. There were reports that he collapsed on the ground, and then left the game with help from the Nashville trainer.
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.’’
A’s closer Sean Doolittle cleared a mental barrier as well as a physical one in throwing to hitters 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 to face hitters, because there are things you can’t simulate when you are just throwing to the catch. It moves it up a little.’’
It’s not clear at what point an abnormal level of play becomes normal, but the A’s have to be getting close to that point after a 6-5 loss to the Twins Thursday.
Manager Bob Melvin shook up his infield Thursday, putting second baseman Eric Sogard at shortstop and third baseman Brett Lawrie at second base so regular shortstop Marcus Semien could get a day off.
And the A’s paid for it when the first four runs of the Twins win scored after one error by each middle infielder.
“Marcus had played every inning of every game,’’ general manager Billy Bean said. “He needed to give him a day off.’’
What happened is that three runs scored after Lawrie wasn’t able to complete a double play, throwing wide past first base. Then Sogard had a chance to close out the fourth, but he bobbled a routine grounder and that led to a run that tied the game at 4-all.
The A’s got two scoreless innings from one of their relievers Thursday, and even in a 6-5 loss to the Twins Oakland was happy to see the results Fernando Rodriguez got.
Rodriguez was called up in time to make the trip from Triple-A Nashville and get to the A’s clubhouse about 30 minutes before first pitch. He’d been on a hot streak with the Sounds, not allowing a run in any of his last five games, and that roll continue as he pitched two innings and retired six of the seven men he faced, striking out four.
The right-hander said he’d been looking for answers after getting beat up in an April start for the Sounds, and he found them.
Josh Reddick was answering to the name “Superman’’ in the clubhouse after Wednesday’s game thanks to the crazy diving catch he made against the Twins’ Brian Dozier in the fifth inning.
Reddick took to the air to stretch out and steal a double, or triple, from Dozier, to earn the title, although he admitted Thursday morning he liked a `Spiderman’’ reference to the catch better.
Either way, it wound up causing a little pain.
In their ongoing quest for bullpen help, the A’s went to Triple-A Nashville to call of right-handed reliever Fernando Rodriguez, who was with the club for seven games over two stints last year.
To make room on the 40-man roster, Oakland put reliever Chad Smith on the designated for assignment list, which gives the team 10 days to trade him, release him or, if he clears waivers, sign him to a minor league contract.