OAKLAND — Hoping to welcome Henderson Alvarez to their rotation this week, the A’s instead got some discouraging news on the right-hander.
Alvarez suffered another setback with his shoulder Saturday night, leaving a rehab start with Triple-A Nashville after three innings with pain in the shoulder. It’s a near identical situation to late May, when Alvarez was nearing a return from the disabled list when he re-injured his shoulder in a minor league game back then.
All had gone well for Alvarez since then, and he was on track to make his A’s debut in this week’s series that begins Thursday in Anaheim. Alvarez had given up two runs over three innings Saturday against Round Rock before leaving. He went out to warm up for the fourth but felt some pain and left the game and is shut down indefinitely.
Alvarez will return to the Bay Area before flying out to get checked by Dr. James Andrews, who performed the shoulder surgery last July that has sidelined the 26-year-old until now.
“For a while last night I was thinking about him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He just loves to pitch, loves to play. You can see that in him, whether he’s throwing a bullpen or whatever he’s doing. He was looking so forward to coming back and helping his team. It’s pretty demoralizing. He’s having a tough time with it right now.”
It’s also another dose of bad news for his team.
The A’s rotation has been besieged by injuries all season. Six starters total have joined the disabled list since spring training, with Chris Bassitt, Felix Doubront and Jarrod Parker all lost for the season. Rich Hill, Sean Manaea and Alvarez, a 2014 All-Star who was signed in the offseason, are currently on the DL. Alvarez’s anticipated return was seen as a potentially big lift for a rotation that has the second-highest ERA in the majors (5.21) has thrown the fewest innings of all 30 teams.
Alvarez signed a one-year $4.25 million contract for this season, but the A’s also hold team control over him via arbitration for 2017.
There was better news for the A’s elsewhere on the health front. Right fielder Josh Reddick, recovering from a fractured left thumb, is set to begin a rehab assignment with Nashville on Sunday. Melvin said the tentative plan was for Reddick to play five games, probably get a day or two off in the middle of that stint, and possibly return from the 15-day DL for the start of the Bay Bridge Series against the Giants starting June 27.
Hill threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Sunday morning and will throw a three-inning simulated game Wednesday with hitters standing in. That would suggest the lefty might not be far off from returning from a groin strain, but Melvin has said the A’s will proceed cautiously with Hill. Manaea threw off the mound Sunday and will do so again Tuesday. He’s not eligible to return from the DL until June 29, but Melvin mentioned a possible rehab assignment coming up for Manaea.