The Oakland A’s announced yet another roster move on Sunday, this time to put pitcher Sean Manaea on the 10-day disabled list with a strained shoulder. The move is retroactive to April 27, which puts him on track for a May 7 return at the earliest.
Manaea exited his last start on Wednesday after just two innings, due to a “sharp pain” in his shoulder and a significant dip in his velocity. He wrote it off as a minor issue and neither the player nor the team sounded worried about it long-term, but they’ll take the safe route and give him some quick rest now. The lefty is expected to miss only one start, says Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle.
Slusser also notes that the decision to shelve him was made easier by a couple bits of convenient timing. With an off-day on Monday, and Sonny Gray expected to come off the DL to pitch Tuesday, the A’s can cover for Manaea’s absence next week without needing to call on a spot starter (like Cesar Valdez, etc.).
There was no corresponding move made on Sunday. Since Sonny is expected to return for the team’s next game on Tuesday, Slusser suggests that they’ll just keep the roster spot open until then. That means they’re playing one game (on Sunday) with only 24 on the roster.
Finally, via Joe Stiglich of NBCS, the A’s expected rotation for three games in Minnesota (Twins starters via ESPN):
Tue: Sonny Gray (vs. Ervin Santana)
Wed: Kendall Graveman (vs. Hector Santiago)
Thu: Jharel Cotton (vs. Kyle Gibson)
(Andrew Triggs and Jesse Hahn round out the A’s staff for now.)
The A’s have now put four starting pitchers on the DL already this season, and it’s not quite May yet. Sonny (lat), Graveman (shoulder), Daniel Mengden (foot), and now Manaea (shoulder) have all missed time — and that doesn’t count Chris Bassitt, who is rehabbing a Tommy John surgery from last year. Fortunately, Graveman has already returned and Sonny is right behind him, and this Manaea news is currently minor, so at least the frequent bang-ups have just been fender benders so far.
Hot take: I like that the A’s are being quick to use this new 10-day DL. They have enough viable starters that they can keep rotating around like this if someone needs to rest for a week, and it will be interesting to see how the extra rest might help them later in the season.
My only question is why it took so long to act. Sonny has looked good to go since Thursday, so they’ve known for days that they could cover Manaea’s one missed start. Why didn’t this move happen on Friday, allowing them to put an extra hitter on the bench for the entire Houston series? When your young stud starter leaves with sharp shoulder pain in late April and you don’t need him next week, is there really anything that can happen over the next four days that makes “putting him on the DL briefly just in case” anything other than the only option?
My answer to that last question would be no, especially now that a DL stint means missing only one start. All that said, it didn’t end up mattering in the first two games of this series and they made the right call eventually on the big-picture topic of Manaea’s health, so, no harm done this time.
Finally, if you’re looking for optimism regarding Manaea, consider this. The A’s just did this whole process with Kendall Graveman — minor injury tweak, precautionary DL stint, one missed start, then back in action. That doesn’t mean Manaea’s situation will play out the same way, but the point is we used to joke on this site about “day-to-day” being code for “arm amputated next week.” Now it seems that a precautionary DL stint can really mean just that.
P.S. In happier injury news, Chris Bassitt made his first minor league rehab start after his TJS last May. His final line, for High-A Stockton: 3 ip, 0 runs, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 1 hit, 46 pitches (30 strikes). Great first outing!! Bassitt is on the 60-day DL, so whatever happens we definitely won’t see him before June — which is fine, because he surely needs several more rehab outings anyway after so much missed time.
P.P.S. More good injury news! Rajai Davis is expected to come off the DL on Tuesday as well, says Stiglich. That means the A’s could be adding both Sonny and Rajai when they get to Minnesota.