Henderson Alvarez, Andrew Triggs both done for the season as Oakland’s starting rotation continues to take injury hits

Henderson Alvarez, who had hoped to pitch the final two-thirds of the season with Oakland, has been shut down for the year because of ongoing shoulder pain.

Henderson Alvarez, who had hoped to pitch the final two-thirds of the season with Oakland, has been shut down for the year because of ongoing shoulder pain.

After six months of hoping that Henderson Alvarez would  be able to join their starting rotation, the a’s have given up for this year with Alvarez’s right shoulder continuing to give him trouble.

Manager Bob Melvin said Alvarez, who pitched three innings on an injury rehabilitation assignment last week, continues to feel discomfort. He will leave the team sometime this week and will visit Dr. James Andrews, the orthopedist who performed the original surgery on Alvarez’s right shoulder in July, 2015.

At the same time, the A’s say that Andrew Triggs, the reliever-turned-starter who came out of his last start after one inning after back trouble, won’t be pitching again this season.

“Henderson is having a tough time again with his shoulder,’’ Melvin said. “He’ won’t probably pitch this year, and he’s going to see Dr. Andrews again. Unfortunately he’s hit another hurdle and I really feel bad for him. This is a guy who has worked so hard to get back with us. He’s been right on the cusp a couple of different times, then has had to go back on the rehab cycle, which is very difficult to do.

“My heart goes out for him. Hopefully we get this thing settled, whether it’s another surgery we’re not sure. But this is an issue that has been with him all year. This is a great kid who loves to pitch. Always has a smile on his face.’’

Alvarez was twice one injury rehab start away from joining the A’s rotation. The first time was in June and then again about a month later he was close again. Melvin said he was guessing, but Alvarez might never have been right after that first time he was shut down.

The A’s have had Alvarez, who signed last winter as a free agent with the A’s willing to take a gamble on a right-hander who was a 2014 National League All-Star, undergo a series of MRIs since June in an effort to locate the problem. None so far has been able to do so, which is why Melvin said another surgery might be necessary.

“Dr. Andrews will make that decision,’’ Melvin said.

As for Triggs, who had hopped the back pain was just a minor setback, he hasn’t even been allowed to begin strengthening exercises. He came out of a Sept. 2 start after one inning and had he remained healthy, his next start would have come up Wednesday.

“I doubt he will pitch again this year,’’ Melvin said. “We don’t have a schedule for him to throw yet.’’


Billy Beane trying to find a fix for A’s injury woes

Billy Beane has his hands full looking for solutions to the A's injury epidemic.

Billy Beane has his hands full looking for solutions to the A’s injury epidemic.

It’s a given that medical dramas will always have a strong appeal to television viewers.

It’s less so for watchers of baseball. Hospital trips get in the way of plot lines rather than sustaining them. The injured party may be the center of attention on the small screen, but the player is simply out of the picture in baseball.

Nowhere is that more evident than in Oakland, where the A’s are in the words of executive vice president Billy Beane “living under the shadow of this injury epidemic.’’

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Henderson Alvarez shoulder problems crop up again; A’s shut down his rehabilitation assignment for second time

Henderson Alvarez had hoped to join A's rotation this week. He won't.

Henderson Alvarez had hoped to join A’s rotation this week. He won’t.

The riddle that is Henderson Alvarez’s right shoulder jumped back into the forefront with the A’s Sunday with the news that he had more shoulder pain during what was supposed to be his final injury rehabilitation assignment start Saturday night in Nashville.

After pitching three innings without difficulty, Alvarez went out to start the fourth inning against Round Rock and felt a recurrence of the shoulder pain that has plagued him off and on. He had shoulder surgery last July and then in what was supposed to be his last rehab start May 15 had to be shut down after five innings.

“He was feeling some pain,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve shut him down. Unfortunately when we have him right on the verge of getting him back here, something pops up.

“It’s a setback. Is it worse? That’s tough to tell. He said there was pain in the shoulder. He was aware enough to stop. But where we go from here, we’re not sure yet.’’

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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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Parker had natural reluctance to letting pain slow him down

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 uneasy balance between healthful prudence and competitive drive showed itself in spring training in the person of A’s starter Jarrod Parker.

Parker had forearm problems in September and October that he had checked out after the season. Rest was the prescription, and for the offseason Parker did as prescribed, and he didn’t feel any discomfort in his arm.

The early days of spring weren’t bad, but the more he threw, the more he had trouble getting comfortable or even throwing without pain.

He tried to pitch through it hoping things would clear up, but on Thursday’s side session, both pitching coach Curt Young and manager Bob Melvin noticed his struggles. Melvin called him into his office, and it was then that Parker admitted the pain was back.

Does it mean that the diagnosis this winter to rest was wrong? Not necessarily. For one thing, until Parker is checked out by Dr. James Andrews, there’s no knowing what the problem is. For another, while the discomfort is in the same area, it’s not the same pain, at least in Parker’s thinking.

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