OAKLAND -- Dan Straily will start for the A's in Game 3 against the Cubs on the Fourth of July, not Jarrod Parker. The team is expected to make the corresponding roster move to clear space for Straily prior to Thursday's game.
The A's will make the prudent move and push Parker back to Saturday to give his mildly-strained right hamstring additional rest.
Straily, 24, entered the season as the A's fifth starter, but he has only made 12 starts, splitting time with Triple-A when the schedule did not require him. He is 4-2 with a 5.00 ERA in 12 major league starts and 3-1 with a 1.46 ERA in four Triple-A starts this year.
"He's done enough to be that guy," manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday, adding that Straily wasn't guaranteed to get the call for the next start when the team optioned him to Sacramento on June 24.
"You still want them to have that edge," Melvin said.
Straily, who was scheduled to pitch for the RiverCats Wednesday, will oppose Cubs left-handed pitcher Travis Wood (5-6, 2.85 ERA) in the Fourth of July matinee.
Parker, who threw his bullpen session to Stephen Vogt on Tuesday without incident, will now face the Royals in Kansas City on a day that the team would have needed a fifth starter anyway.
"He looked good," Vogt said in a radio interview Wednesday. "Just going off what I saw stuff-wise, it looked pretty good. He looked like he was strong and healthy. It looked like he wasn't holding back, like he was just going after it. And the ball was coming out of his hand really nice."
But the manager was a bit more guarded: "He was feeling it a little bit yesterday. It felt like the best thing to do, to push him back. But you'd expect more soreness after throwing like that, and he's feeling good today."
The 24-year old could throw "a little touch and feel" on Thursday as he continues to heal the right hamstring that tightened up in his Saturday start against the Cardinals.
Parker collapsed in a heap on the mound after delivering his 48th pitch, immediately grabbing his right hamstring. After a few warm-up pitches under the watchful eyes of Melvin and head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta, Parker was pulled. He cruised through the first three innings, but Parker gave way to Jesse Chavez and the A's lost 7-1 -- just the third loss in their last 19 home games.
The A's third option to start Thursday was 2011 first-round draft pick Sonny Gray, who was pulled from his scheduled start Tuesday night presumably so he would be available to fill in for Parker. The 23-year old is set to start the Triple-A All-Star Game for the Pacific Coast League team on July 17 in Reno, Nevada. He is 7-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 15 starts for the RiverCats this year, with 98 strikeouts to 32 walks in 95 1/3 innings.
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"Electric is the first word that comes to mind when I think about Sonny," said Vogt, who has caught Gray in the minors. "He's fun to watch. He's fun to catch. His ball jumps out of his hand. He throws hard. He's got a good curveball, good change-up. He's got a lot of two-seam movement on his fastball. He's something to be excited about if you're an A's fan out there.
"The sky is the limit, he's everything that's advertised."
Melvin indicated that when the team needed a fifth starter -- which would've been the case in Kansas City even if Parker made his Thursday start -- it would likely use of one of its three catchers to clear space. It could be the writing on the wall for Vogt, the third catcher and most recent addition to the active roster.