HOUSTON — The A’s are moving up Kendall Graveman to start Saturday against the Astros, with Rich Hill still hampered by a groin issue.
Hill said Friday afternoon that he still felt some discomfort in his groin upon playing catch, and he and manager Bob Melvin both said he was iffy to take the ball Saturday at Minute Maid Park. The announcement came from a team official about an hour before first pitch Friday that Graveman would be bumped up a day from his Sunday start.
Because of Thursday’s day off, he’ll still be on a regular four days’ rest. The A’s haven’t announced their new starter for Sunday, but Melvin mentioned Hill could take the ball that day if he’s feeling better.
“There are still some issues going on with the groin, but we’re going to figure that out,’’ Hill said. “It’s my drive leg, pushing off the mound. There’s a little bit of residual effects in there, but we’re working every day to get it better.’’
“We want to make sure he’s as close to 100 percent as he can be, and we’re not certain after throwing (off) flat ground today,” Melvin said.
Hill’s groin began bothering him during Sunday’s start against Detroit, which he exited after 6 1/3 innings when he was visited on the mound by the training staff. He had lobbied to stay in the game at that point, but Melvin lifted him as a precaution. Hill said his groin felt fine after he threw a bullpen session Wednesday, and he was penciled in for Saturday.
Expect the A’s to take every precaution with Hill, who is fresh off being named the American League’s Pitcher of the Month for May. He is 8-3 with a 2.25 ERA that ranks second in the American League.
“We’re still trying to figure it out, whether we can push (Hill) back to Sunday, or whether we need to do something else,” Melvin said.
The A’s current five-game winning streak happened to coincide with injured right fielder Josh Reddick taking the lineup card out to home plate before the game. Melvin kept drafting Reddick into that duty so as not to mess with a good thing. Given that Reddick isn’t traveling with the team as he rehabs from a fractured thumb, Melvin was asked who would take the card out Friday.
“Probably Bushy (hitting coach Darren Bush),” Melvin said. “He’s got the next best record.”