OAKLAND – Yet another young A’s starting pitcher is ailing, as Chris Bassitt was scratched from Tuesday’s start due to a sore throwing shoulder.
Bassitt, a rookie who largely has impressed over the season’s second half, felt some discomfort after his last start in Seattle, when he walked four and was not nearly as sharp as previous outings.
That persuaded the A’s to turn to Triple-A right-hander Cody Martin, who will officially be promoted Tuesday and make the start against the Los Angeles Angels.
“At this time of year we’re gonna be real careful with (Bassitt),” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “No MRI yet, but the doc’s going to look at him. It was just a little stiff after the last start, so we’ll be proactive with that. I’m not sure what the timetable will be for him, but we’ll make sure he’s either 100 percent or close to 100 percent before he pitches again.”
The A’s are already without rookie starters Jesse Hahn (right forearm strain) and Kendall Graveman (strained left oblique). Hahn is all but assured of missing the rest of this season, and chances are the A’s will be just as cautious with Graveman. And don’t forget about right-handers Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin, who have missed all season due to injury hurdles in their recovery from Tommy John surgery.
As always, the injury misfortune of some creates an opportunity for others. Martin, 25, was acquired from the Atlanta Braves in July for an international bonus slot. The rookie made 21 relief appearances for the Braves and posted a 5.40 ERA. But he’s accustomed to being a starter and welcomed a fresh start with the A’s.
Martin is from Dos Palos, roughly a two-hour drive from Oakland, and he remembers attending a couple games at the Coliseum as a grade-schooler. His father, Chuck, pitched briefly in the Braves’ farm system, so he grew up pulling for Atlanta.
While Chuck Martin was a power thrower who relied on his fastball and slider, Cody uses a five-pitch assortment – fastball, curve, slider, cutter and changeup. He estimated he’ll have 10 to 20 people in the stands cheering him on Tuesday.
That makes up for a Braves trip to AT&T Park earlier this season, when Martin said about 50 people were looking forward to seeing him pitch against the Giants. The Braves wound up optioning him to the minors right before that series in the Bay Area.
Martin can smile at the memory now.
“That was tough,” Martin said. “They all came to the game (anyway). I was actually sitting in my apartment in Atlanta watching the game.”