The Oakland Athletics announced that left-handed pitcher Sean Doolittle has a slight rotator cuff tear in his left shoulder, as well as inflammation and irritation, according to Melissa Lockhard of OaklandClubhouse.com. Doolittle had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left shoulder to treat the inflammation and irritation, Lockard writes, but he is not expected to be ready for Opening Day.
According to assistant GM David Forst, problem arose when Doolittle began offseason throwing program. He's received a PRP injection.— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) January 23, 2015
Asst GM David Forst tells me that doctors do not believe that Doolittle will need surgery; rest and treatment should resolve the issue.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) January 23, 2015
Any trine you see "rotator cuff tear" it sounds potentially drastic but this could have been termed a shoulder strain; just a slight tear.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) January 23, 2015
In 2014, Doolittle went on the disabled list for an intercostal strain he suffered on August 23, returning on September 12.
The most prominent candidate to at least temporarily take over the closer role is newly-acquired right-hander Tyler Clippard, who has previously closed for the Washington Nationals and earned 32 saves in the 2012 season. Other candidates include left-hander Eric O'Flaherty or 2012 All-Star Ryan Cook.
This news also seemingly opens the door for a reliever who was already on the outside looking in, assuming Doolittle, Clippard, Cook, O'Flaherty, Dan Otero, Fernando Abad, and Jesse Chavez made up the projected roster. Now, out-of-options reliever Evan Scribner and rostered pitchers Chris Bassitt, R.J. Alvarez, Eury De La Rosa (lefty), and Taylor Thompson may get an opportunity to fill that open spot.