The trade of Derek Norris brings two good arms into the A’s camp and leaves open more possible moves.
You have to wonder what’s next for the A’s.
Billy Beane & Co. have spent the last six weeks stocking up on young talent, most of it pitching, including right-handed starter Jesse Hahn and right-handed reliever J.R. Alvarez who are the newest additions with Derek Norris having been traded to the Padres Thursday night.
Already five of the seven players the A’s had at the All-Star Game this season are off the roster, and as Norris told me Thursday night, it seems like the A’s “are looking to rebuild’’ heading into 2015.
Norris may be right about that, but it seems more than a little possible that Beane is loading up for one big swing between now and the start of spring training. With Matt Kemp off the block now, the biggest bats known to be available are outfielder Justin Upton of the Braves and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies.
Sean Doolittle’s intercostal strain, putting him out for 18 games in August and September, rattled the A’s bullpen.
Had they advanced to the American League Division Series against the Angels, the A’s likely would have been heavy underdogs.
That has nothing to do with how the A’s played the Angels this season, but because of the personnel Oakland would be able to put on the field.
Center fielder Coco Crisp suffered a hamstring injury not long before the A’s suffered a 9-8, 12-inning loss to the Royals in Kansas City. Catcher Geovany Soto jammed his thumb in the first inning and had to come out of the game in the third.
Manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday the injuries were not short-term.
“We would have had to go without Coco and without Soto in the next round if we’d gotten that far,’’ Melvin said.
#A’s setup man Ryan Cook got some good news — he doesn’t need surgery
A’s reliever Ryan Cook said there was never a doubt in his mind that the forearm pain he was feeling was not serious.
He might have been the only one. Forearm pain in hard-throwing pitchers is generally the precursor to Tommy John-style surgery where a ligament from the arm or a leg is attached in the elbow.
It means a recovery period of 12-15 months, and losing the hard-throwing Cook for that period of time would have been a severe blow to the Oakland bullpen.
And there were expectations that he might well be on his way to join teammates Jarod Parker and A.J. Griffin as members of the A’s Tommy John club for 2014.
A.J. Griffin had season-ending elbow surgery Wednesday in Houston.
Look for Oakland starting pitcher A.J. Griffin to need about 12 months or a little longer to get back on the mound for the A’s after he underwent Tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery Tuesday in Houston.
Griffin had Houston-based Dr. Thomas Mehlhoff take a tendon from his right wrist transplant it into place of his right ulnar collateral ligament. A’s trainer Nick Paparesta said Mehlhoff was “excited’’ about how well the surgery had gone.
The plan now is for Griffin to take four months off without throwing, then spend two months throwing on the side to build up his arm strength. At about the six-month post Griffin should start throwing off the mound. At or about the 12-month mark the A’s will start to think in terms of having him face competition.
A.J. Griffin will have season-ending elbow surgery Wednesday in Houston.
The A’s have lost a second member of the 2014 starting rotation to elbow surgery with the news that A.J. Griffin will undergo elbow surgery Wednesday in Houston.
Griffin was in Houston Tuesday to see Dr. Thomas Mehlhoff for a second opinion on the state of his elbow. Dr. Mehlhoff will perform the elbow surgery, with a typical recovery time of about 12 months, depending on the type of surgery involved.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said he wasn’t sure of the type of surgery that would be needed (Tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery is considered the likeliest option) but said he’d talked to Griffin and said the right-hander was taking the news in a positive way.
“He’s a happy-go-lucky guy,’’ the manager said. “This means he can see the light at the end of the tunnel to be able to pitch next season.’’
Griffin and Jarrod Parker both were supposed to be members of the rotation this year, but both found they couldn’t go forward pitching in pain mid-March, and Parker had surgery shortly thereafter. Griffin was told that three weeks of rest might get his right elbow back in form, but it didn’t happen.
Dan Straily enjoying being part of the brotherhood of A’s starters
Dan Straily says there’s a reason the A’s starting pitching keeps getting better.
With Straily throwing seven one-run innings Thursday in a 6-1 win over the Twins, Oakland starters have allowed three runs or fewer in all nine of their games this year. The last time they did that, 1990, they wound up in the World Series.
It’s way too early to be thinking such lofty thoughts now, but the fact is that while pitching is a very individual pursuit, the A’s starting corps of Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez and Straily – No. 5 starter Tommy Milone makes his debut Friday in Seattle – have a nice bond.
Sonny Gray is the last man standing in drive to start opener for the A’s
Sonny Gray got the job that just about everyone but Sonny Gray expected him to get when A’s manager Bob Melvin named him the opening day starter.
Gray will be followed in the rotation by Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez, Dan Straily and Tommy Milone.
The opening day start was expected originally to go to Jarrod Parker, but the competition opened up when it was learned that Parker will miss the season and undergo tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery.
Even with Parker, Gray was considered a contender for the opening day assignment by manager Bob Melvin, who isn’t afraid of putting the 24-year-old in the spotlight.
Last year in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, Melvin went with Gray over 18-game winner Bartolo Colon, and while the A’s lost that game, it wasn’t because Gray didn’t pitch well.
“He’s very quickly become one of those guys,’’ Melvin said of Gray, who was 5-3 with a 2.67 ERA after his promotion to the big leagues last year and then pitched eight shutout innings in Game 2 of the playoffs against Detroit before taking the 3-0 loss in Game 5.
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.
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.
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.