SEATTLE – It was a mixed bag of news for the A’s on Sunday regarding some of their players on the mend.
Catcher Geovany Soto, out with back spasms, made significant progress from Saturday to Sunday, and Oakland manager Bob Melvin was holding out hope that Soto might be available in some capacity for the series finale against the Mariners at Safeco Field.
“I feel good about him being available for the next series,” Melvin said before Sunday’s game.
The A’s will take their final day off of the season Monday, before starting a nine-game homestand Tuesday against the Texas Rangers. Oakland then hosts the Philadelphia Phillies for three and the Los Angeles Angels for three before finishing the season with a four-game set at Texas.
The timetable for the return of first baseman/catcher Stephen Vogt is less certain, but Melvin said he doesn’t expect to have Vogt for the start of the Rangers series.
The original hope was that Vogt might return from a sprained left ankle sometime this weekend, but he’s stayed in the Bay Area to continue rehabbing. Vogt has been sidelined since Sept. 3, when he injured his ankle on a slide into second base.
“He was taking some swings the other day in the cage,” Melvin said. “He tried to do some running, but I don’t think that went so well.”
Still no word on outfielder Craig Gentry's potential return from a concussion.
After Sunday’s game, Melvin is expected to announce his rotation coming out of Monday’s day off.
The A’s have flexibility to shift their starters a bit. The most likely scenario might involve bumping Jason Hammel back from his scheduled start Thursday, and letting Sonny Gray pitch that game against the Rangers on regular rest.
That could line up Gray to pitch the regular season finale Sept. 28 at Texas, which would serve the A’s well if they need that game to clinch a postseason spot.
As things stand, Jon Lester is on turn right now to potentially pitch the A.L. Wild Card game Sept. 30 if the A’s qualify for it.