Sonny Gray is back in action for the Athletics after missing about seven weeks with a forearm strain, with the club announcing his activation from the 15-day DL. Gray is expected to start today for one final time this season, but he’ll be limited to a strict pitch count.
Gray, 26, is looking to end his forgettable campaign on a relative high note by returning to the major league mound. He has twice been sidelined by injury, and has handled only 116 innings to date. The results just have not been there for a pitcher who previously featured as a front-line starter. Gray carries a 5.74 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 to go with a 54.3% groundball rate.
Those major peripherals aren’t really out of line with his prior marks, but Gray has been plagued by a shift in his ability to suppress the damage on batted balls. He has previously maintained a low batting average on balls put in play while limiting the homeruns, but this year he surrendered a .318 BABIP and 17.8% HR/FB rate, with 10.2 hits and 1.4 dingers per nine leading to a flood of earned runs.
For the A’s, there isn’t much to do but hope that Gray can ramp back up for a fresh start in 2017. Hopefully, at least, the arm troubles can be put behind him after a full winter of rest and preparation. Oakland won’t pay nearly as much as it might have expected for Gray’s services next year, as his first year of arbitration will be built off of this highly disappointing campaign — though the 491 innings of 2.88 ERA pitching he compiled heading into the season will certainly still result in a solid payday.