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Oakland A’s put Kendall Graveman on 10-day DL

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Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s placed starting pitcher Kendall Graveman on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to a strained shoulder, the team announced. The move is retroactive to Saturday, the day after he last pitched, which means he’s eligible to return on April 25. To replace him on the roster, catcher Bruce Maxwell was recalled from Triple-A.

Graveman looked dynamite in his first two games of the season, with increased velocity and a bump in his strikeout rate, but he struggled through his third outing and exited after only five innings and 74 pitches. There is no official word on the specifics of his shoulder injury, but Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle notes that “there have been no indications [it’s] serious” and that she doubts the right-hander will miss more than one start.

(UPDATE, 5 p.m.: Graveman himself shares that best-case expectation of missing only one start, via beat writer Jane Lee. The DL stint is reportedly precautionary, says Joe Stiglich of CSN, after the pitcher had trouble loosening up last time out.)

Last year, Graveman was the only A’s starter to make it the whole season without either getting hurt or tanking his way back to Triple-A. His 31 starts and 186 innings both led the team by substantial margins, so seeing him banged up already is certainly a bummer. The last time he went on the DL was in 2015, when he missed September with an oblique injury.

The list of A’s starters on the DL is growing quickly, yet again. Oakland is now without Graveman, Sonny Gray, and Daniel Mengden, in addition to the long-term recovery of Chris Bassitt. Reliever John Axford is also still out. (The other remaining starters are, in order beginning on Monday: Jharel Cotton, Andrew Triggs, Jesse Hahn, and Sean Manaea.)

Fortunately, multiple factors will make this a relatively easy absence to deal with if Graveman does indeed miss only the minimum time. The A’s are coming off a rainout on Sunday, so their rotation was already pushed back a day anyway, and they have an off-day on April 24. Therefore, they only have to cover seven more games until the soonest possible return date on April 25. Furthermore, they were already carrying an extra pitcher on their staff via their eight-man bullpen, so presumably one of the long relievers could step in for a spot start around Thursday or Friday while still leaving a fully stocked seven-man pen.

In other words, it’s possible the end result of all this is that Raul Alcantara makes one start in place of Graveman.

We can thank the new 10-day disabled list for that, as Slusser notes that it allows teams to rest pitchers for minor injuries that they may otherwise have played through and made worse. She praises the new shorter DL from a “prevention standpoint,” and wonders if we might see starters briefly hit the shelf more often to quell the nagging aches of a long campaign now that they can pull it off while only missing one start.

As for Maxwell, we covered his callup yesterday after Slusser’s early report that he would be coming up to Oakland. He gives the A’s a third catcher, and likely a defensive upgrade behind the plate as well. His presence could potentially mean that Stephen Vogt gets at-bats elsewhere, like at DH (he’s also played 1B and the corner outfield in the past). More important, though, is the big picture: The A’s now have a fourth position player on their bench, and another top prospect getting playing time at the MLB level.

Full updated roster (w/ Alcantara penciled into rotation for now):

Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Sean Manaea (L)
Jharel Cotton (R)
Andrew Triggs (R)
Jesse Hahn (R)
Raul Alcantara (R)

Relievers

Ryan Madson (R)
Santiago Casilla (R)
Sean Doolittle (L)
Ryan Dull (R)
Liam Hendriks (R)
Daniel Coulombe (L)
Frankie Montas (R)
Catchers

Stephen Vogt (L)
Josh Phegley (R)
Bruce Maxwell (L)

Infielders

Yonder Alonso (L)
Ryon Healy (R)
Jed Lowrie (S)
Adam Rosales (R)
Trevor Plouffe (R)
Chad Pinder (R)

Outfielders

Khris Davis (R)
Rajai Davis (R)
Matt Joyce (L)
Jaff Decker (L)

Disabled list, pitchers: RHP Sonny Gray, RHP Kendall Graveman, RHP Daniel Mengden, RHP Chris Bassitt, RHP John Axford

Disabled list, hitters: SS Marcus Semien, 2B Joey Wendle, OF Jake Smolinski (60-day)