Editor's note: Above is a video of manager Bob Melvin during the postgame of Sonny Gray's list starting before going on the DL
OAKLAND -– After playing catch the past two days, Sonny Gray will throw from the mound Saturday for the first time since joining the disabled list.
Consider that encouraging news for the A’s right-hander, who joined the 15-day D.L. on Sunday after revealing he’d been pitching his past couple of starts with pain caused by a strained trapezius muscle in the back of his neck.
“He felt good yesterday and felt even better today,” manager Bob Melvin said before Friday’s game against Detroit. “A guy like that, you’re hoping it’s a limited amount of time on the D.L., whether it’s 15 days or shortly thereafter.”
Melvin said he didn’t know yet how many bullpen sessions Gray would throw before making a minor league rehab start. But given that Melvin has been hinting that Gray could be gone longer than 15 days, it seems unlikely he’ll be activated June 5, the first day he’s eligible to come off the D.L.
In other pitching-related injury updates, right-hander Henderson Alvarez played catch out to 90 feet Friday and will go to 105 feet Saturday to test his surgically repaired shoulder. Reliever Liam Hendricks, recovering from a triceps strain, is on a similar schedule. And fellow reliever R.J. Alvarez, on the mend from elbow surgery, will throw his second bullpen session Saturday.
Catcher Josh Phegley rejoined the active roster after missing 15 games with a strained right knee. With the Tigers starting a left-hander in Matt Boyd on Saturday, Melvin said Phegley will be behind the plate that day. His return comes two days after second baseman Jed Lowrie came off the D.L.
“It’s good to have Phegs back,” Melvin said. “Now it’s starting to feel like we’re getting semi-whole again, at least on the position-player part of it.”
The A’s still have a major league-high 11 players on the D.L., including right fielder and No. 3 hitter Josh Reddick, who on Friday was still estimating his timetable for return from a fractured thumb at four to six weeks.
Catcher/outfielder Matt McBride was optioned to Triple-A Nashville to clear a roster spot for Phegley.