Parker first underwent the procedure in 2009, bouncing right in 2012 and 2013 for Oakland prior to getting injured again last spring. He missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing the procedure for the second time before his 30th birthday.
Coming off of Tommy John surgery is a battle, coming off of a second one? Well, it seems more like a war. Still, both Parker and the A’s are optimistic about Parker’s ability to make a successful return.
On Thursday Parker, who is expected to be ready to pitch for the team mid-season, threw 30 pitches in his second simulated game of the spring. He faced five batters, getting a ground out and three fly ball outs.
A’s manager Bob Melvin liked what he saw saying that while he knows the statistics of coming back from a second surgery are not great, he’s happy with the progress Parker is making.
“I know the numbers, but I also try to go off what I’m seeing, and what I’m seeing right now is good stuff. I’m positive about where he is right now. As far as the progression goes, he’s right on schedule,” Melvin said. “That’s the second time he’s thrown curveballs and dropping it in for strikes, which means he’s staying back and mechanically throwing the ball the way he wants to.”
Parker expressed his happiness at just being able to get out on the field and be a part of the game again. He explained that he understands that while he is needed in the rotation and is feeling good, that he cannot rush the process.
“There’s every bone in my body that feels like I could be ready sooner or soon, but I think the smart side of me says be cautious and trust the people that that’s their thing,” Parker said.
Parker will likely be assigned to an extended spring training assignment before rejoining the A’s, meaning, as previously noted, he will not be ready for Opening Day.
The A’s, however, have still more depth in their options for the starting rotation in Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin and Chris Bassitt. They’ve got it covered but if Parker can return strong by mid-season that’d be just another ace in the hole for the Athletics.