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The Wounds that Haunted the Athletics


Word came from the Oakland Athletics in an announcement this afternoon that both Sonny Gray and Josh Reddick were to go under the knife in the near future, and that Jarrod Parker would undergo an extended rest period to aid his ailing elbow.  The revelations of these injuries may in part explain the team’s early exit from the postseason.  That said, the flaws that brought this team down run far deeper than those three players.

Sonny Gray pitches right before the fateful comebacker in the 5th inning of game 5. (Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports)

Sonny Gray’s injury occurred during his game 5 start against the Tigers, while fielding a comebacker from Prince Fielder in the fifth inning.  What was originally believed to be a broken thumb, was revealed to be a ligament tear after MRI results came back.  As Jane Lee notes in her report, the tear is the same one suffered by former Athletics closer Andrew Bailey that sidelined him for four months.  The damage had already been done by Miguel Cabrera, but the potential significance of the injury is still high.

The injury to Jarrod Parker though was something that had bothered him in the final weeks of the regular season.  He had been feeling soreness in his forearm, which is an extremely frightening bit of news.  While the doctors determined that surgery was not necessary at the moment, oftentimes forearm problems are a precursor to the dreaded Tommy John surgery.  Parker has already undergone the procedure once, and a second surgery would obviously deal a brutal blow to his career path.  With no certainty about Bartolo Colon‘s return, or his effectiveness going forward as he turns 41, the A’s will rely heavily on Parker to emerge as an ace atop their rotation.  Losing Parker would be a major blow to the Athletics for 2014.  This will be something to keep an eye on.

Josh Reddick suffered multiple problems with his right wrist this season, but elected rehab over surgery to avoid extended periods away from the lineup.  Many believe this was the main contributor to his dramatic drop in production, but observant fans will note that his lack of production dates back to the second half of the 2012 season.  The injury was a convenient excuse for Reddick’s poor 2013 season, and while it certainly didn’t help, there was a lot more to his struggles than a bum wrist.  If he gets this taken care of, the expectation would be that he’ll return to his hot hitting ways of early 2012, or else he shouldn’t be in the everyday lineup.

The MLB season is a tough grind, and surely there are even more injuries that will need healing than we’ve heard of to this point.  This simply proves that winning a World Series is a war of attrition.