The Oakland Athletics have announced that Kendall Graveman will start Saturday's contest against the Houston Astros (via Joe Stiglich, CSN). Sunday's starter remains to be announced, though if Hill can't start on that day, the A's will have to recall a pitcher from the minor leagues.
A's are TBA on Sunday's starter. They'll keep evaluating Hill's condition.— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) June 3, 2016
Manager Bob Melvin told beat reporters prior to that announcement that top starter Rich Hill might not start Saturday's contest after his minor groin issue flared up in a flat ground session today (via Jane Lee, MLB.com). Kendall Graveman will pitch on regular rest, which would allow the A's to push Hill back to Sunday without calling up an extra starter.
If Hill can't pitch before Sunday, however, the A's would have to recall a pitcher from the minor leagues. It would be hard for the A's to go to the usual suspects without placing Hill or someone else on the disabled list, as Zach Neal pitched for the Nashville Sounds on Thursday and Eric Surkamp is ineligible to be recalled without someone going on the DL.
Daniel Mengden is on turn to pitch for Nashville on Saturday, and one wonders if extremely impressive performances at hitter-friendly Las Vegas and Salt Lake City that brought his Triple-A ERA to 1.12 in six starts might open the A's to calling up the 23-year-old to make his major league debut in his hometown of Houston against his former organization. Presumably, eighth reliever J.B. Wendelken would be returned to Nashville to open a space on the roster, in that case.
In fact, knowing a push back or a missed start was a possibility, I do find it a bit strange that the A's sent Surkamp down on Thursday just to have an eighth reliever after an off day. Surkamp could have filled that role just as well on two or three days rest after throwing 71 pitches in Tuesday's start. It may be that the A's were considering Mengden as their backup plan anyway in case a spot starter was needed.
Rich Hill didn't seem too worried when asked before Bob Melvin's press conference today:
Hill says he's still working on pitching with residual effects of the groin injury but thinks he's good enough to go tomorrow.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) June 3, 2016
This story has been updated to reflect the announcement that Kendall Graveman will start on Saturday.