Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray threw a 25-pitch bullpen session yesterday, during which he utilized all of his pitches and threw at a 100 percent effort level, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. He’s slated for another ’pen session on Friday — the next step in his rehab of a strained lat muscle that caused him to be shut down for most of Spring Training. Gray will throw one or two more bullpen sessions in total, then throw to live hitters once or twice before embarking on a rehab assignment (where he’ll likely make two minor league starts), per Slusser.
Slusser adds a bit more good news for A’s fans as well, noting that right-hander Chris Bassitt looks to be ahead of schedule in his recovery from 2016 Tommy John surgery. Bassitt will throw to hitters today and is nearing a minor league rehab assignment of his own, though he’ll need a considerably longer rehab stint than Gray due to the nature of their injuries.
More from the AL West…
- Astros first baseman Jon Singleton has been pushed all the way back to Double-A to open the season, as Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle writes. While the move was made to ensure he is able to receive consistent playing time, that obviously suggests he’s behind others — most notably, A.J. Reed — in the depth chart. Unlike Reed, Singleton is also without a 40-man spot at present, though his contract, which runs through 2018 and includes three option years thereafter, surely provides at least some incentive for the organization to move him to the majors if circumstances warrant.
- Drew Smyly received a platelet-rich plasma injection on Tuesday, Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto told the media (link via Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune). That procedure doesn’t impact the team’s expected recovery, however, which Dipoto still pegs at six to eight weeks. “Six weeks until he begins throwing. Eight until we anticipate we can make a better judgment on when he’ll rejoin the club,” Dipoto said. Fellow left-hander Ariel Miranda was tabbed as the first line of defense in the wake of Smyly’s injury, and he’ll make his first start of the season tomorrow.
- The Mariners’ claim of right-hander Evan Marshall stems, in part, from familiarity on the part Dipoto, the general manager told reporters, including Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. “He was actually a draft pick from my final year with the Diamondbacks,” Dipoto explains. “…He has a very heavy sinker that will touch 96 mph. His velocity will be in that 94ish range. He has a very high rate of ground balls, last year was 57 percent, which is pretty consistent with his career norm.” Marshall, 27, posted an outstanding 2.74 ERA with 9.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 60.7 percent ground-ball rate as a rookie in 2014. Since that time, he’s struggled in the Majors, though one has to wonder how much those troubles were impacted by a skull fracture that he sustained when he was hit by a line drive — an injury that required surgical repair and cost him a significant chunk of the season.
- Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register spoke to Angels outfielder Ben Revere about his reserve role with the team and the difficulty of trying to reestablish oneself as a player that can be relied on every day while receiving only limited at-bats. Revere isn’t down on himself after losing out on the left field job despite a vastly superior spring to that of starter Cameron Maybin. “No matter what happens, if I go the whole year being a backup, I’m going to try to get No. 9 (Maybin) to have the best year of his career,” Revere says. “…Spring training doesn’t mean a damn thing. It’s all about performing when it counts. It starts now.”
- Fletcher also suggests, once again, that the Angels could be forced to make some type of roster move to alleviate the first base mix once Luis Valbuena returns from an injury next month. Valbuena figures to receive the bulk of the time at first base, leaving the Halos with a pair of right-handed-hitting complements in the form of C.J. Cron and Jefry Marte. While it was Marte who drew the start last night despite a lefty pitcher being on the hill, manager Mike Scioscia tells Fletcher that the decision to start Marte was merely a means of getting him into the lineup early in the season without asking him to sit for too long.