When Jarrod Parker went to visit Dr. James Andrews on Saturday, the result seemed pretty much inevitable. Now, it is officially real.
Jarrod Parker needs Tommy John surgery again.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 17, 2014
This will be Parker's second Tommy John procedure. Most pitchers come back just fine from their first one, if not slightly better. Many don't come back at all from their second one. Some of them do! But not all of them. And those who do are often not quite as good as they were before.
Obviously, Parker is out for the year now. He's probably out for the first half of 2015 as well, at the very least. It's entirely possible that we won't see him again until 2016, if at all.
With Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir (also hurting), and Dan Straily locked into the rotation, we're all prepared for Jesse Chavez and Tommy Milone to get some starts. A.J. Griffin may not be hurting as bad as we feared, as he is only being shut down for three weeks to address elbow tendinitis (no structural damage).
In today's Drumbeat, SuSlu also mentioned that Chavez would be the fourth starter and Milone the fifth, which is backwards from what most of us would have expected given the two hurlers' relative MLB experience. However, this does make sense. Management is high on Chavez and seems to like his superior upside more than the "safe bet" of Milone, and Chavez is out of options whereas Milone can still be sent back to Triple-A if there isn't room for everyone (and subsequently shuttled back and forth all year as the emergency spot starter).
Things seem like they're going really terribly for the pitching staff right now, but they aren't as bad as they seem. Kazmir and Griffin could be totally fine; the only thing we know for sure is that we've lost Parker. There is still starting pitching depth with Drew Pomeranz and Josh Lindblom, because Billy did his homework before it was assigned. The bullpen is still stacked, too, and reports on Ryan Cook's health and Opening Day status continue to be favorable. This is still a team with enough talent to win the AL West.
Stay strong, Athletics Nation. Keep the faith, and Trust In Billy.