The A’s have gotten quite a bit of bad news this afternoon. Here is the scoop from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:
Major news, and not good, for the A’s today: projected Opening Day starter Jarrod Parker is likely to miss the start of the season because of a forearm injury; Parker will visit orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Alabama on Monday. And A.J. Griffin, the team’s No. 4 starter, will see Dr. Doug Freedberg in Scottsdale today because of elbow discomfort.
Manager Bob Melvin said that the A’s are proceeding as if neither pitcher will be able to open the season with the team.
The only silver lining of all of this is that of all the teams that this could have struck, the A’s are probably best-equipped to handle losing two starting pitchers because they have major league-ready replacements ready to fall back upon.
The best case is that both injuries only require rest and a bit more time to build arm strength while missing the first few weeks or less. The worst case is that they both end up on the operating table and miss the whole season. With both experiencing just “tightness” and a “dead arm” and no reports of pops while throwing, hopefully that portends more towards rest than surgery.
The injuries mean that Tommy Milone and Jesse Chavez will be slotted into the starting rotation with Sonny Gray moving into the opening day slot for the A’s.
Milone has been a valuable member of the A’s rotation since coming over from the Nationals, starting 57 games over that last two seasons with a 3.92 ERA (97 ERA+). Chavez is a bit more of a wild card, bouncing around a number of teams before catching on with the A’s at the end of 2012 and working out of the bullpen. His career numbers are not great but he has been the A’s best pitcher so far this spring. He has primarily been a reliever in his career and has just two career starts, but the A’s had always seen him as a potential starter even before this injury.
I asked Billy Beane about Chavez as a possible starter this morning and he said that really has been plan with him all along, eventually.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 14, 2014
This would also bump up former Rockie Drew Pomeranz as the next in line if — heaven forbid — another starter has injury trouble. Hopefully this is just a minor issue and both Parker and Griffin are back after missing just a few games. If not, it looks like the A’s are going to have to ask a lot of the pitching depth that they have built up for the third season in a row.