OAKLAND — It remains very much up in the air whether Sonny Gray will return to the mound for the A’s this season.
Gray still isn’t close to throwing yet as he deals with inflammation in his right forearm, according to manager Bob Melvin. And while a healthy return to game action would likely give Gray some peace of mind heading into the offseason, the A’s don't plan to push their No. 1 starter, who left an Aug. 6 start early and was placed on the 15-day disabled list the next day.
“After the inflammation goes, then it’s strengthening and then it’s throwing, so we’re a ways away from him throwing,” Melvin said Sunday morning.
Melvin was asked if he’s still hopeful of seeing Gray on the mound again.
“It just depends,” he said. “I don’t necessarily think it’s important. It’s nice to know you’re healthy again and don’t have to worry about it in the offseason. But it’s not like we’re gonna push him to try to get him out there just to get him out there.”
Gray is 5-11 wtih a 5.74 ERA in 21 starts. He missed two weeks bridging May and June with a strained trapezius muscle in his neck.
There was encouraging news for the A’s regarding another starter. Jesse Hahn, dealing with a shoulder strain, is scheduled for a rehabilitation start Tuesday with Triple-A Nashville. Hahn said the tentative plan is for him to fly from Nashville to Chicago next weekend to join the team during its three-game series against the White Sox. If all goes well for Hahn on Tuesday, it’s conceivable he could be activated from the DL and start next Sunday in the series finale at U.S. Cellular Field.
The A’s haven’t announced any plans for Hahn beyond Tuesday, and Melvin said only that it would be decided after Tuesday whether Hahn would require a second rehab start or not.
Hahn said his shoulder has responded well in his throwing sessions.
“It’s feeling better than it was before my last start” on Aug. 4, Hahn said.
Melvin said the excellent stretch of pitching being turned in by right-handed reliever Liam Hendriks is allowing him to take a little of the workload off Ryan Dull’s shoulders.
“It allows me to give Ryan Dull a break,” the manager said. “I was concerned with how much we’re using him.”
Dull entered Sunday’s game leading American League rookies (and ranking sixth among all AL pitchers) with 54 appearances. After stranding each of his first 36 inherited runners this season, Dull has allowed five of his last eight to score.