Sam Fuld Strains Shoulder; Sean Doolittle Improving; Jarrod Parker’s Surgery
Oakland Athletics Roundup: Monday, March 21
Several Oakland Athletics are dealing with minor injuries, with various estimated return dates:
- Closer Sean Doolittle has not pitched since March 13, after being limited by a triceps strain. The left-hander should return to game action in time to be ready for Opening Day, barring any setbacks. On Sunday, he threw on flat ground – a promising sign. He is scheduled to pitch off of the mound on Monday. Doolittle missed the majority of last season with a shoulder injury, so this is a bit more concerning than it might normally be. That said, the team doesn’t seem to be too worried, and Doolittle looked good in his three Cactus League appearances so far this spring – even striking out the side in one of them.
- Sam Fuld, who is among the candidates battling for a roster spot, is expected to miss at least three weeks after suffering a left shoulder sprain during Saturday’s game against the Reds. This eliminates his opportunity to make the Opening Day roster, which comes as a major disappointment for the outfielder. This spring, he was hitting .417 as he fought to stand out from younger, more offensively-talented players like Mark Canha, Andrew Lambo and Khris Davis. The Athletics will instead place Fuld on the disabled list. In a way, this might be good for him. Fuld is out of options, and this will give the A’s some extra time to determine whether they’d prefer to keep him and send one of their younger outfielders to Triple-A, instead of being forced to release him at the end of camp.
- The Athletics announced over the weekend that Jarrod Parker will undergo elbow surgery on April 1. During the surgery, which will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, they will make a decision as to whether he needs to undergo a third Tommy John procedure. If he does, there would be very a limited sample size of players in his situation. Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that only Jason Isringhausen and Jose Rijo have successfully returned to the major leagues after three such surgeries, although the Rays’ Jonny Venters is currently attempting a comeback as well. After his procedure, Parker will determine whether he intends to continue on his path back to the O.Co.
- On Saturday, Felix Doubront was struck with a comebacker, in what initially seemed like it might be a serious injury. A ball off the bat of the Giants’ Trevor Brown sent him to the ground in pain, after striking him in the back of his right knee. After a brief delay and some talks with the A’s trainers, Doubront was able to stand. Surprisingly, the Athletics let him finish out his scheduled four innings of work. It honestly seemed a bit odd, given that in Spring Training, teams are typically eager to pull a player out of precaution. While it seems that Doubront was fortunate enough to just suffer a bruise, one can’t help but wonder if he would have continued to pitch if Bob Melvin had been managing this half of the team on a split-squad day, rather than Mark Kotsay.
In Case You Missed It
Athletics vs. Angels: Who Wins in 2016? – Position by position, who is better this season – the Los Angeles Angels or the Oakland Athletics? Melson Varsovia breaks down which areas each team excels in, and determines whether or not the A’s should defeat their AL West rivals this year.
Should A’s Sacrifice Defense for Power? – Which is more important in a roster: defense or offense? Samantha Riley takes a look at whether it would be worth it for the A’s to give up Gold Gloves in favor of Silver Sluggers, so to speak.
A Sonny Gray Extension? – The A’s are hardly the first team to be faced with the choice of locking up their ace long before he reaches free agency. One recent example is Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians, another small-market (read: cheap) team that doesn’t have much margin for error. Could the Athletics copy the structure of Kluber’s deal in order to keep Gray?
2016 Previews: Yonder Alonso and Billy Butler – Our Spring Training series continues, this time with A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso, as well as designated hitter Billy Butler. Be sure to check out the predictions and previews for the upcoming 2016 season here.
Around the Web
Climbing Tal’s Hill: Notable Astros Departures – Cody Poage of Climbing Tal’s Hill talks about some of the most notable departures from the A’s AL West Division rivals. The Houston Astros’ lost several players, including current-Athletic Jed Lowrie and designated hitter Chris Carter, but their biggest lost was Scott Kazmir. Kazmir, who was traded to the ‘Stros by the A’s at the deadline has gone being from a scrap-heap pickup by the Cleveland Indians to being one of the more coveted left-handers in the game.