In a welcome piece of A’s starter-related news, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has reported that left-hander Sean Manaea will begin a rehab assignment with the organization’s AAA affiliate on Monday. Manaea has been sidelined for the entirety of the 2019 season following September 2018 surgery on his rotator cuff.
In light of the misfortunes the Athletics have suffered in regards to their starting staff this season, Manaea’s return will surely be a welcome one. Though perhaps best known for his no-hit performance against the Red Sox last April, the Indiana-bred Manaea has been best known to Oakland fans as one of the team’s steadier starting options in recent years. From 2016 to 2018, the lefty posted 80 starts that resulted in a 3.94 ERA (4.15 FIP) across 464 innings. Last season, he did an especially laudable job at limiting walks, with an allowance of just 1.79 BB/9 (a mark which, had he qualified, would have placed Manaea 6th among all starters).
In his absence, the Athletics have mostly been scrambling this year to account for other absences. Frankie Montas, brilliant 2019 results notwithstanding, was recently suspended 80 games for PED use; Jharel Cotton was shut down in June with a hamstring injury; young options like Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk have been waylaid by setbacks and shaky rehab performances, respectively. Despite these developments, the A’s have maintained a 49-40 record, partly due to quality starts provided by the likes of veterans Mike Fiers, Brett Anderson, and Chris Bassitt.