There is bad news for the A’s and their bullpen on the injury front, but there is some good news surrounding some of their other injured players. I’ll get the bad news out of the way first.
The not so good news for the A’s:
It is a bad sign when a player is placed on the 60-day disabled list. Once they are, they cannot come off it before the 60 days are up. It also means that they are no longer on the Major League club’s 40-man roster and in most cases it indicates that the player will be out for the season.
Often times you see victims of a torn ulnar collateral ligament who require Tommy John surgery placed on the 60-day DL. That is not the case for Sean Doolittle. Doolittle had a small tear in his left rotator cuff and started the season on the 15-day disabled list. He returned in late May and made one appearance for the A’s against the Detroit Tigers.
Less than a week later, the A’s lefty closer was placed back on the DL with a shoulder strain and no timetable for his return was set. Now we know that that timetable may be next season and it’s just another big blow to the A’s already struggling bullpen.
Tommy John surgery was the reason that A.J. Griffin had been on the 60-day disabled list. He was reinstated to the A’s 40-man roster on Saturday in place of Doolittle. Griffin, however, will remain with the A’s Triple-A affiliate in Nashville to continue to make rehab starts in his attempt to return to he big league club.
How long Griffin may remain in the minors is currently unknown because of the effectiveness of the back-end of the rotation starters’ Kendall Graveman and Jesse Chavez. Both players have been pitching extraordinarily well, going deep into games and not allowing many runs, despite not upping their numbers in their wins columns.
Both lost well-pitched games to the Los Angels Angels this weekend. Friday night Jesse Chavez left the game with the lead and was let down by the bullpen. Saturday, Graveman pitched a complete eight-inning one-run game. His only run came on a first inning home run by Albert Pujols but he was left stranded out on the mound with no run support from the rest of the ball club. Both games added to the high total of one-run losses the A’s have suffered this season.
So, for now Griffin who has accrued 69 days of service time while being on the major league disabled list is one day short of having three years of service time meaning that if he is not called up or suffers a setback during his rehab that the A’s will be able to have him under team control for next season.
This is not likely the A’s plan and more of an issue of Griffin’s health, after the terrible bone break that was suffered by Jarrod Parker who was close to returning from his second Tommy John surgery.
While this one is Griffin’s first procedure, it makes sense to take the necessary precautions. As long as he is healthy and strong he’d be next in line to be called up to the big league club if one of the starters begins to struggle or is injured.
The good news for the A’s:
Of course I don’t mean to say that Griffin’s reinstatement is bad news, it is definitely good news but he will not be making an impact for the Major League club anytime soon.
Ike Davis, on the other hand, could be. Davis who has been on the disabled list with since May 14 with a grade 2 left quad strain could be back with the Athletics as soon as the next home stand, which begins on the 17th of this month.
Injured reliever and former All-Star Edward Mujica who had pitched well out of the bullpen for the A’s until he suffered a broken thumb being hit by a comebacker in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Although the injury looked serious, as Mujica was walked off the field with his hand covered in blood, it did not require surgery.
He has already been able to begin throwing bullpen sessions and will begin his rehab with the Class-A Advanced Stockton Ports on Monday. He has been on the disabled list since May 22.
Finally, injured switch-pitcher Pat Venditte who was just put on the disabled list on Friday expects to return as soon as his 15 days on the DL are up. He on the DL with a right shoulder strain which is the same shoulder he had surgery on in 2012. As for pitching just left-handed – as so many of you have been asking about – it would still put strain on his right shoulder and it would not get time to heal properly.
So the A’s bullpen took yet another hit and they’ve lost two more one-run games this weekend but it is not all “doom and gloom” for the Oakland A’s. They will have Davis and Mujica returning soon, Venditte’s injury isn’t dire and their pitching depth is deeper with A.J. Griffin back in the mix.
I know that thinks look bleak for the boys in the green and gold with the white shoes but anything can still happen. It’s not yet too late to turn things around but they are getting dangerously close to the time when it will be.