Gray told reporters that he was experiencing hip soreness after his last start, and it appears that the team decided to err on the side of caution:
While no one ever wants to see a player get injured, the extra rest may be good for Gray. Last week, I made the argument that shutting the A’s ace down early could allow him to get a jump start on his off-season recovery and prevent unnecessary injuries. Certainly, it was an arm injury that was most concerning, but it’s hard not to wonder if Gray has been pitching through a nagging hip injury during the final month of the season.
Gray finishes the season with a 14-7 record and 2.73 ERA, and he was very much in the Cy Young conversation heading into September. In the final month of the season, he posted a 6.84 ERA, while opposing hitters batted .315 against him. This was in stark contrast to the numbers he posted throughout the year, including a 2.00 ERA and .187 opponents’ batting average in August. Although the A’s honored Zito over the weekend, Saturday’s duel with Tim Hudson will not be his final start in an Oakland uniform. The beloved pitcher only went three innings in his first and only start of the season, but manager Bob Melvin hinted that Zito might be allowed to pitch deeper into the game on Wednesday.
Even with the A’s out of contention, the team will miss Gray in the rotation. The important thing, however, is that he now has the time he needs to recover and return to the mound at full-strength next Spring Training, ready to help the A’s make a run for the playoffs in 2016.