OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Jarrod Parker is uncertain about the protocol for his recovery from a fractured elbow following two Tommy John surgeries, and that's probably because he might just be the new case study for a pitcher who has undergone all of those operations.
The Oakland right-hander, who twice had the ulnar collateral ligament replaced in his pitching arm, was nearing his return from last year's elbow reconstructive surgery before the season when he was injured while on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville last month. He had yet another surgery May 19, posting on Twitter afterward a photo with a thumbs-up while thanking everyone for the support. He also noted, ''Everything will be alright!!''
''We have a pretty good idea. At this point we're just letting it heal,'' Parker said Wednesday. ''It's a bone so I've just got to fix it, deal with it day by day. We're just letting a bone heal at this point. There's not too much crazy stuff. Obviously it's in my elbow so that's what makes it a little more crazy. I'll do it just like I did last time: Take it day by day and keep a good attitude about it, bust my (tail) and that's all I can really do.''
Now, after some time at home in Indiana resting and spending time with family, the 26-year-old Parker - the ninth overall pick by Arizona in the 2007 amateur draft - returned to Oakland to see his A's teammates who reached out with support from the moment he got hurt again. He will spend his time rehabilitating between the Bay Area and Arizona.
Parker won 13 and 12 games, respectively, in his full major league seasons for the A's in 2012 and '13.
Believing in his ability to rebound from yet another major setback in his young career is paramount.
''For me, it's probably one of the most important things,'' Parker said of his positive mentality. ''There's no doubt that's where it challenges you more than feeling a little pain or whatever. I felt like I needed to do it and it got me over the hump a little bit with the support I got from these guys, family, friends. I couldn't ask for any more. It's all kind of surreal at this point. I'm still stomaching it and digesting it.
A's manager Bob Melvin remains optimistic that Parker will return in less than the full year or more it typically takes for Tommy John recovery.
''Surgery's surgery, but I think he's trying to look at the positive side of it that it's not Tommy John again,'' Melvin said. ''Hopefully it's a shorter time period based on what he's dealing with. So I think he's doing the right thing in looking at it as a positive. ... It is remarkable. These things are demoralizing. He's still at a young age, and he's had quite a history at the big league level for a guy that's still as young as he is, and to have a couple different Tommy Johns and now to have to deal with this. There is a period of time where you need to find how you go forward, and he's been able to do that. ''
Whether he comes back as a starter or out of the bullpen, Parker is far from ready to make such a projection.
Especially without someone else as an example of how to come back from this.
''I want to play catch before I think about that stuff,'' he said. ''At this point in the year, what are we pushing for? We're probably pushing for next year. I haven't really seen too much of the protocol. Keep working. There isn't anything we know too much about. It's a different situation, a different scenario. I'm probably a little different than somebody that didn't go through what I did.''