OAKLAND – It might normally be news when a team’s ace starter, currently on the injured list, expands his rehab work to throwing on flat ground, but not so for the A’s Sonny Gray.
Gray, working his way back from a right lat strain, did the flat ground thing officially for the first time Saturday before the A’s-Giants Bay Bridge Series game mixing in most of his pitches. But manager Bob Melvin didn’t have high hopes that Gray was taking it slow.
“My guess is that he’s been throwing flat grounds every day when we aren’t looking at him,” Melvin said with a chuckle.
Throwing on flat ground is the step before a pitcher moves to throwing off a mound, so there is reason to believe Gray will be on a mound sometime in the next few days, possibly before the A’s leave after Thursday’s game for their first road trip of the season.
Both Gray and the A’s are wary of having the pitcher return too quickly and reinjure himself, a scenario that may have helped lead to the second of two stints on the disabled list for the right-hander last season.
Gray suspects he could pitch at extended spring training in Arizona or at Class-A Stockton, but it would be no surprise at some point if he was to pitch in games for Triple-A Nashville, given that Nashville is his hometown.