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The Weekly Bernie, 3/13/17: Oakland A’s keep winning, but Sonny Gray shut down

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The A’s are the proud owners of the best record in the Cactus League, but it might have come at an unfortunate cost, among other news.

MLB: Spring Training-Oakland Athletics at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to The Weekly Bernie! It’s the best dance in the game, so let’s get rolling once more!

  • The 2017 season is already off to a less-than-ideal start for A’s ace Sonny Gray, as the right-hander has been shut down for the next three weeks following a moderate lat strain suffered in his Tuesday start, per Jane Lee of MLB.com. As a result, he might not pitch until late April. While this is certainly a bad sign after his horrendous 2016 campaign, this does make the 2017 Opening Day pitching staff a bit clearer. It seems very likely now that, barring further injuries, Andrew Triggs and Jesse Hahn will round out the rotation to start the season. However, Alex does have another pair of interesting ideas, so be sure to check those out.
  • On the bright side, the A’s have won seven straight games and now hold the best record in the Cactus League at 10-4. Their offense has carried them, as they have scored at least seven runs in each of their last six games. While Spring Training doesn’t matter a whole lot, wins are a whole lot better than the alternative - especially for such a young team. Check out the game recaps here: Tuesday, Diamondbacks; Wednesday, Italy; Thursday, Reds; Friday, Royals; Saturday, Rangers; Sunday, Cubs.
  • The A’s made another round of cuts on Sunday, this time including pitchers Felix Doubront, Tyler Sturdevant, and Zach Neal, infielders Richie Martin, Renato Nunez, Max Muncy, Jermaine Curtis, Rangel Ravelo, and Josh Rodriguez, and outfielders Andrew Lambo and Kenny Wilson. Most notably, Neal and Doubront could find their way back in the Majors as long relievers at some point in 2017, while Martin and Nunez are talented young players with some flaws they need to work on in the minors.
  • CSN released its 2017 A’s broadcast schedule, and Joe Stiglich has the breakdown.
  • The World Baseball Classic has been nothing short of thrilling so far this year. The Dominican Republic has continued to dominate with its star-studded lineup, as the country hasn’t lost a game in the tournament since 2009. More surprising, however, has been this year’s underdog, Team Israel. While the club (full of former and current Athletics) may lack any marquee talent, they have certainly shocked the baseball world, going undefeated so far. For more information, check out the official WBC website here.
  • One of the biggest injuries of the spring so far took place on Sunday afternoon as Colorado Rockies first baseman Ian Desmond fractured his hand when he was hit by a pitch. He’ll be seeing a hand specialist today, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com. Desmond was a huge investment for the Rockies, who signed him to a five-year, $70 million contract this past winter, so losing him for any period of time will be a tough blow for the club.

That’s all for this week. Today, Kendall Graveman and the A’s will look to extend their winning streak to eight games against Anthony DeSclafani and the Cincinnati Reds at 1:05 p.m. PT. Feel free to dump any links in the comments below. Until next time - lean on, A’s fans!