He entered the night as one of two mainstays of the A’s injury-tattered starting rotation, but Sean Manaea is questionable for his next start after suffering a strained back muscle in Monday’s loss to the Astros.
That leaves Kendall Graveman as the lone remaining healthy member of the A’s regular rotation.
Manaea, who has shown promise since being called up in April, was the other healthy anchor of Bob Melvin’s starting staff. But he exited Monday night’s 6-0 loss with one out in the bottom of the fourth with what the A’s announced as a strained left rhomboid muscle. The rhomboid muscles are located in the upper back between the spine and the scapula (shoulder blade).
Manaea, asked if he would be ready for his next turn through the rotation, told the Bay Area News Group: “Let's see how I feel the next couple of days.”
Expect the A’s to exercise caution with a player rated their best pitching prospect at the time he was called up from Triple-A Nashville.
As for who could fill in for Manaea were he to miss time, Jharel Cotton and Raul Alcantara are two interesting names to keep in mind from the Nashville rotation. Both had been mentioned recently by manager Bob Melvin as possible call-up candidates even before Manaea’s injury. Cotton is 3-1 with a 3.31 ERA in five starts with Nashville since coming over from the Dodgers in the Rich Hill/Josh Reddick trade. Alcantara, the A’s top pitching prospect before having Tommy John surgery in 2014, has a 1.18 ERA in eight starts since being promoted from Double-A Midland. Alcantara pitched Monday so he’s on turn with Manaea.
Daniel Mengden, who has pitched well since his demotion to Nashville in late July, also is a candidate to rejoin the A’s. All three of the above mentioned pitchers are already on the 40-man roster. And with big league rosters set to expand Thursday, any of them could be brought up then without Manaea needing to go on the DL.
How injury-wrecked has the A’s rotation been?
They’ve used 12 different starting pitchers this season and all 12 have made at least four starts. The 12 pitches with at least four starts is tied with Atlanta for the most in the majors, and it’s tied for the most in A’s history. The 1957 and 1997 clubs also had 12 pitchers make at least four starts.
Melvin told reporters in Houston that the plan is for reliever Sean Doolittle (strained left shoulder) to come off the DL for Friday’s homestand opener against Boston, provided Doolittle makes it through one more rehab appearance with Nashville with no issues.