Parker, Griffin Injuries: Writing, Meet Wall

With his 10.61 ERA this spring, Jarrod Parker's changeup was fooling hitters about as much as his comments about his health. - Christian Petersen

Oh by the way, 40% of the rotation won't actually be ready to start the season. Still want Billy Beane to trade away that starting pitching depth? News came down today that Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin will miss the start of the regular season with arm injuries. "Start of the season" sounds harmless until you read further and realize that Parker is visiting Dr. James Andrews, who greets patients with a smile and a scalpel, and that Griffin's pain is also elbow related: Same appointment, less famous doctor.

If you follow my comments (and really, who doesn't put everything in their life aside each day to check out what I have to say?), you know that since October I have been mentioning that it has nagged at me how Parker ended 2013 with forearm tightness in his right arm, that I had a bad feeling about his health for 2014, most recently that it was an ominous sign that Oakland was holding off naming an Opening Day starter even though there was only one logical candidate.

My hope was that Parker's career -- his immediate career, anyway -- was rescued by Justin Verlander. That is, my hope was that Parker was saved by not being tempted to pitch in the ALCS. With an off-season to recover from soreness that hadn't yet reached the level of "he leaves the mound clutching his elbow," maybe, just maybe, Parker dodged the bullet.

He didn't.

Meanwhile, Griffin casually used the term "dead arm period" to explain his mid-80s fastball last night. The reality is that when a pitcher's fastball is down 5MPH, it's a red flag attached to a blinking red siren attached to, well, usually a scalpel. "Perhaps I'm just having one of those normal dead-arm stretches," he rationalized.

He wasn't.

These injuries both come as a surprise -- if you aren't paying attention to the writing on the wall. The writing that appears, in front of your nose, in all-caps, in 72-point Verdana Bold.

Gray, Kazmir, Straily, Milone, Chavez. Hmm...It's not as good and it's still not bad! Alex Hall will analyze further the impact of these injuries on the A's roster and outlook, just as soon as his forearm tightness heals. Kidding. He'll be posting sooner than in 12-18 months.

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