BALTIMORE – Sonny Gray will return to the mound Monday night against the Orioles, A’s manager Bob Melvin announced.
Oakland’s ace will be coming off an eight-day layoff due to back spasms that scratched him from his previously scheduled outing Thursday at Toronto. Gray played catch Friday and then threw off the mound Saturday, and the A’s training staff wanted to make sure he felt good Sunday morning before clearing him for Monday’s series finale at Camden Yards.
Melvin said the likely plan will have long reliever Felix Doubront stepping in to start Tuesday at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which would mean Jesse Chavez goes Wednesday.
Inserting Gray on Monday means fans will miss out on a potential duel between him and defending National League MVP Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday. Had Gray not needed to be scratched Thursday, his turn would have fallen on Tuesday.
“We wanted to get him out there as soon as he can,” Melvin said. “He would love to pitch against Kershaw, and that was a potential marquee matchup, but he wants to be out there for his team as soon as he can.”
Closer Sean Doolittle, working back from a left shoulder injury, is pitching again for Triple-A Nashville on Sunday. The fact the A’s are willing to run him out there on one day’s rest, and the fact that his fastball velocity continues to climb, would suggest Doolittle is on target to be activated from the disabled list on the upcoming five-game homestand.
Reliever Taylor Thompson cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Nashville.