starters, Sean Manaea, MLB debut

UPDATE: Sean Manaea placed on 15-day DL

UPDATE: 4:15 pm

Sean Manaea to the DL

According to the San Jose Mercury News  Sean Manaea, 24, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained pronator muscle. This is yet another blow to the Athletic’s already depleted rotation, however, in a way it is lucky. Forearm soreness can be a sign of a torn ulnar collateral  ligament in which case he would’ve needed Tommy John surgery.  Still, the A’s rotation is quickly crumbling to pieces – one of the reasons Manaea was called up from Triple-A Nashville in the first place. This is the 16th time in 10 weeks that the Athletics have had to use the disabled list – read on below to learn more about the seven pitchers that have been or are still on the disabled list for the A’s.

Original Text: 11:15 am

 With the looming potential loss of Manaea, the A’s have could now have seven starters on the DL

The Oakland A’s already completely depleted starting rotation may have lost another member Monday night. Sean Manaea left the game early. with forearm soreness.

The seriousness of the injury is thus far unknown, however, the A’s medical staff has said that they believe the injury to Manaea’s forearm to be a strained pronator muscle and not necessarily ligament damage.  However, the full diagnosis will not be known until the team gets the results of his MRI on Tuesday.

When most people hear the words “forearm soreness” their mind automatically jumps to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and Tommy John surgery.

In the fifth inning of Monday’s 14-5 rout of the Texas Rangers,  after having just given up a home run to Shin-Soo Choo, that’s where Manea’s mind went.

“My first thought was [that] it’s pretty scary, just because you hear about forearm stuff all the time and TJ,” Manaea said. “That word, I try not to think about it. But from what they told me, it’s nothing too serious.”

This wasn’t the first time Manaea had felt the pain in hi sforearm. It had bothered him a bit at Triple-A Nashville earlier in the season but this was more intense. 

A’s manager Bob Melvin said that he and the rest of the coaching staff could tell that something was off with Manaea, as they were having trouble distinguishing between Manaea’s fastball and changeup. He throws a hard changeup so they continued to watch but after the home run to Choo, it was apparent to them that it was time for a visit to the mound.

Manaea’s fastball usually sits in the mid-90’s and during that inning it was  averaging 87 MPH. With that much of a drop in velocity Melvin knew something was wrong. Manaea did the right thing when his manager and trainers approached the mound. He told them exactly what was bothering him and promptly left the game.

He did not try to be a hero and pitch through the pain. Many other pitchers have tried that route, ones older and supposedly “wiser” than Manaea but all that does is add further damage to the arm.

oakland a's, starters
Sonny Gray. USA TODAY Sports.

Even though preliminary tests say that the problem is muscular in nature and not a ligament issue does not mean that Manea’s out of the woods. He is likely to join – well- pretty much the rest of the A’s pitching staff on the disabled list and the MRI still has to rule out that it is not his UCL. 

The A’s had thought they were prepared for injuries this season by making sure to have a lot of rotation depth. While ace Sonny Gray has returned from the DL (and is thankfully pitching like the Sonny Gray we saw last season) he missed 13 games with a strained trapezius muscle. Only to have to return early, coming back early to pitch against  the Houston Astros, when he had been scheduled for a rehab start in the minors, simply because the A’s had no one else to go to. 

Henderson Alvarez, signed over the offseason while recovering from shoulder surgery had a setback in his recovery and hasn’t pitched at all this season. Neither has Felix Doubront who felt the pain in his forearm during the team’s final exhibition game which led to Tommy John surgery meaning he’s out for the year as is Chris Bassitt who also had to go under the knife, having the same surgery as Doubront. Bassitt has missed 40 games this season. Rich Hill, who had the best ERA in the American League at the time of his injury, has missed 12 games so far with a groin injury and there is no real timetable for his return. 

Jarrod Parker was attempting a return from his second Tommy John surgery plus a third surgery to repair the broken elbow he suffered during his last rehab start before joining the team in 2015, re-fractured the same elbow and is once again out for the season. Parker has not pitched since the 2013 American League Division Series in which the A’s lost to the Detroit Tigers.

So you can see that this has become quite an issue for Oakland with five starters still one the DL and one who just returned and is on a pitch count watch. 

Daniel Mengdon, starters
Daniel Mengden sporting a Rollie Fingers-like stache. Getty Images.

Still available from the original starting rotation is Kendall Graveman who has struggled this season. He has a propensity for giving up the longball. Jesse Hahn has been back and forth between the A’s and Triple-A Nashville as he’s struggled with control problems and there’s also Eric Surkamp, who should simply be a long reliever and spot starter but has also been thrown back and forth as the A’s have desperately needed the help.

The one bright spot in all of this is Daniel Mengden, a 23-year-old rookie with some nasty stuff. After his MLB debut last Saturday in Cincinnati, many had hoped he would be able to get another start. He pitched quite well and a repeat performance would likely solidify him a spot in the starting rotation. It appears now with Manaea likely headed to the DL that Mengden will be given his chance at another start or more likely multiple ones.

Pitching injuries in baseball are at an all-time high, however, the epidemic seems to have hit Oakland much harder than other teams around the league. *This post will be updated as soon as Manaea’s MRI results are released to the public.

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