HOUSTON — Henderson Alvarez continues to progress from his shoulder ailments, and the A’s right-hander appears to once again be nearing a return to the major leagues.
Alvarez threw a 35-pitch bullpen session Saturday back in the Bay Area that went great, according to reports that manager Bob Melvin was given. Melvin mentioned on the last homestand that after this bullpen session, Alvarez could head out for a minor league rehab start or throw in a simulated game. On Sunday, Melvin said the team was still planning Alvarez’s next step.
His debut with the A’s, whenever that does come, is accompanied by much anticipation. Oakland signed the 2014 All-Star with the hope that he might return from shoulder surgery by May and represent a major addition to their rotation. He made a few rehab starts earlier this season before suffering a setback with the shoulder, and now is on the comeback trail again.
Figure that Alvarez will need multiple outings — whether rehab starts or simulated games — to build his pitch count up to the 90-100 range before he’s a realistic option to be activated from the disabled list.
Coco Crisp, who was held out of Saturday’s lineup because of a sore heel, is back in left field and batting leadoff Sunday. Khris Davis, who left Saturday’s game after being hit in the left elbow, was penciled in at DH on Sunday. He was still experiencing a “dead” feeling in his fingers at times, he said, but said he was good enough to give it a go.
Reliever Liam Hendriks had a good outing in a simulated game against hitters with Single-A Stockton on Saturday. He’s missed 25 games with a triceps strain.
“He felt great, which is encouraging,” Melvin said. “It’s been a while since he felt really good in this whole process.”