The A’s received encouraging injury news Monday as manager Bob Melvin told reporters in Seattle that right fielder Josh Reddick won’t require surgery on his fractured left thumb.
Also, right-hander Henderson Alvarez will resume playing catch Tuesday after a setback with his surgically repaired shoulder last week.
Melvin announced in addition that right-hander Zach Neal will be called up from Triple-A Nashville to make his first major league start Wednesday, in place of the injured Sonny Gray.
Reddick said the initial estimate was that he would miss four to six weeks. He saw a hand specialist Monday, and though the exact timetable still is unclear, it’s excellent news for Reddick and the team that he won’t have to go under the knife.
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Alvarez was nearing a return from the disabled list when he was pulled from a May 15 minor league rehab start with shoulder discomfort. The A’s have been treating it as a fatigue issue and sent MRI images of Alvarez’s shoulder to Dr. James Andrews, who performed Alvarez’s surgery last summer. It’s unknown when Alvarez will get back on the mound.
Neal came up for his major league debut earlier this month and made one relief appearance — giving up three runs over three innings against Boston. The 27-year-old is 5-1 with a 2.53 ERA over seven starts with Nashville.
Gray went on the disabled list Sunday with a strained trapezius. He’s eligible to come off the DL on June 5, but given that Melvin said Gray would have to play catch, throw a bullpen session or two and probably make a rehab start, that return date seems unlikely. It appears he’ll miss a minimum of two turns through the rotation.
Melvin did not say whether Neal would handle both of those starts.