Oakland Athletics’ Disabled List Woes Are Concerning

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May 15, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) looks down as he reacts in the dugout after he pitched the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
May 15, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) looks down as he reacts in the dugout after he pitched the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Oakland Athletics added another player to their already-crowded disabled list on Sunday, as ace Sonny Gray was diagnosed with a strained right trapezius.

The Oakland Athletics might have finally hit rock-bottom on Sunday, as they lost starter Sonny Gray to injury just days after slugger Josh Reddick fractured his thumb while trying to steal a base.

The A’s now have 13 players on the disabled list, including pitchers Henderson Alvarez, Felix Doubront, Jarrod Parker, and Chris Bassitt. Doubront and Bassitt are both recovering from recent Tommy John surgeries. Parker is working his way back from another elbow injury after his own Tommy John surgery, and Alvarez recently suffered a setback just days before he was set to return from a shoulder injury.

Suffice it to say, the A’s are having a rash of injuries. Maybe it’s bad luck, but it is a bit concerning that so many Oakland players, especially pitchers, are suffering serious injuries and subsequent setbacks.

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Gray’s muscle strain is perhaps the least serious of all of their injuries, which is good for the A’s. Although the Oakland ace has struggled in 2016, he’s still the player upon which most of the Athletics’ hopes are pinned. So far this season, Gray has posted a 6.19 ERA, after being the runner-up for the Cy Young Award in 2015.

A lot of the Oakland Athletics’ injuries can be blamed on bad luck or freak plays. Reddick, for example, could train every moment of every day and still have fractured his thumb on a slide. Others, like Alvarez, came to the A’s with preexisting injuries.

But there are still plenty of A’s – Bassitt, Doubront and Parker, as well as former Athletic A.J. Griffin – who incurred their injuries while playing with the Oakland organization. And that should give both the fans and team a reason to question whether the current training program is in need of a tune-up.

That’s not to say the A’s athletic trainers aren’t good at what they do. Again, the disabled list is comprised of a mix of players, with a variety of injuries, and not all of them are preventable. But the majority of teams in the majors have only a small fraction of players on the DL in comparison to the A’s, and that’s worth a second look.

In somewhat-positive injury-related news, San Francisco Chronicle writer Susan Slusser shared today that Reddick is expected to miss five to six weeks rather than seven to eight weeks, as he will not require surgery on his fractured thumb. Slusser also reported that Alvarez was cleared to begin playing catch, which is a step in the right direction after his rehab-outing setback.

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The A’s will recover from these injuries, and in the meantime, they’ll have to play without their best players. The important thing for Oakland is to determine whether or not any of these disabled list stints could have been prevented, and if so, what changes can be made to keep the rest of the roster healthy going forward.

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