The uncertainty around the Oakland Athletics’ starting rotation for Opening Day continues after a couple of injury updates Wednesday from manager Mark Kotsay. Drew Rucinski is dealing with tightness in his left hamstring and will miss his next scheduled start according to a report by MLB.com’s Martin Gallegos. Rucinski’s status for Opening Day is uncertain.
Drew Rucinski has left hamstring tightness, per Mark Kotsay. He will miss his next spring start. Status for Opening Day is uncertain.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) March 22, 2023
The Athletics signed Rucinski this offseason after a four-year stint pitching in the KBO. The hope was originally that he would be able to eat a lot of innings for what figures to be a young rotation. The A’s have several other options on the table that are competing for the final rotation spots. Kyle Muller appears to be in the lead, but Ken Waldichuk, JP Sears and Adam Oller are all still in play and may be needed. Kotsay announced Tuesday that Shintaro Fujinami is likely to pitch every seventh day which is going to require some constant juggling.
Paul Blackburn update
There was one bit of good news on the rotation front Wednesday. Kotsay announced that Paul Blackburn is scheduled to throw a flat ground session on Thursday and that the torn fingernail on his pitching hand is healing well.
Paul Blackburn said he’s throwing a flat ground session tomorrow, fingernail is healing well.— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) March 22, 2023
Blackburn was the odds on favorite to get the Opening Day start for Oakland before the fingernail issue. Kotsay originally indicated that he won’t be ready for the start of the season, but barring any setbacks, could be ready early on in the regular season.