Jesse Hahn is setting his sights on spring training, and what he hopes is a healthy return to the A’s starting rotation.
That would be huge for Oakland, as the 6-foot-5 right-hander slots in as a potential No. 2 starter behind ace Sonny Gray if he’s at full strength.
Hahn was showing promise in his first season with the A’s until a strained forearm ended his season in early July. He began a throwing program toward the end of the season, but wound up having an MRI after feeling some discomfort in his forearm during that time. The results of that test did, however, leave him encouraged as he went into the offseason, and he’s now on his typical winter routine, which will have him throwing again probably in December.
“Everything is structurally intact,” Hahn said in a phone interview. “The MRI looked a lot better than the first one (when he was initially injured). I completely shut it down from throwing. Right now I’m just resting. It feels a lot better, and I think I’ll be ready to go for (the start of spring training).”
By October, every member of the A’s season-long rotation was shut down due to assorted injuries of varying degrees. Of them all, Hahn’s status warrants the most attention because it’s an arm injury and he’s already undergone a Tommy John procedure on his elbow, which took place in August 2010. Given the uncertainty, it stands to reason the A’s will consider signing a free agent starter as insurance.
Two wild cards remain for the A’s pitching staff in the form of Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin. Both have been sidelined the past two seasons as they’ve hit obstacles in their comebacks from Tommy John surgery.
Griffin, who’s dealt with a lingering shoulder injury, is expected to be healthy for spring training, according to a scout.com story. In recent weeks, Billy Beane, the A’s executive vice president of baseball operations, has talked in hopeful terms of Parker being healthy enough to enter the rotation competition too. But Parker has undergone two Tommy John procedures on his right elbow and most recently fractured the same elbow in May.
Parker and Griffin have each completed their own throwing programs recently. But given the time they’ve missed, it’s fair to say that neither should be considered realistic options until they arrive at spring training and are pitching at full strength in a competitive environment.