Oakland got a double dose of bad news Friday afternoon, as the team announced that both Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin would be making doctor's visits for arm injuries. Parker will have a consultation done by Dr. James Andrews because of a forearm strain, and Griffin will visit a doctor in Arizona due to discomfort in his pitching elbow. And regardless of what the medical report is, A's manager Bob Melvin says that the team will not have either starter available to start the season.
"Certainly the start of the season is in jeopardy," Melvin said, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser. "Obviously, the potential is a couple of blows for us. But that’s why we have the depth we do."
The 25-year-old Parker and the 26-year-old Griffin combined for 64 starts last season for Oakland, with Parker going 12-8 with a 3.97 ERA in 197 innings and Griffin posting a 14-10 record with a 3.83 ERA in 200 innings. Parker, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2007 draft by Arizona, has battled elbow problems in the past, undergoing Tommy John surgery as a minor leaguer in 2009. He also experienced arm issues down the stretch last season, and was diagnosed with a forearm strain after his start in Game 3 of the ALDS against Detroit. Griffin has also had elbow issues in his career, with tendinitis forcing him off Oakland's ALDS roster last season. Neither pitcher had been performing well in the spring: Griffin had been touched up for 10 runs and 19 hits in 8 2/3 innings of Cactus League play, including five runs on nine hits in his last start against Colorado. Parker, meanwhile, was hammered for six runs on five hits in 1 1/3 innings in his spring debut and had an ugly 10.61 ERA on the spring.
With Parker and Griffin both out for the foreseeable future, the Oakland rotation will now likely include Jesse Chavez and Tommy Milone. Chavez, a 30-year-old currently on his fifth major league team, has impressed this spring with 12 2/3 scoreless innings so far, but operated primarily as a reliever for the A's in 2013, throwing 57 1/3 innings with a 3.92 ERA and 55 strikeouts. The 27-year-old Milone, who was acquired from the Nationals in 2011 as part of the Gio Gonzalez trade, made 27 starts for the A's last season, finishing with a 4.14 ERA in 156 1/3 innings, but was demoted at one point the second half. Assuming the rest of the Oakland rotation stays healthy through the spring, the A's now line up with Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Dan Straily, Chavez and Milone. The team also has former top prospect Drew Pomeranz, acquired in an offseason deal with Colorado for Brett Anderson, as a potential starter.