ANAHEIM – A’s starter Sean Manaea will have to wait until at least Friday to know whether the tightness he felt in his left shoulder Wednesday night will force him to miss a start.
Manaea, taken out of the game after just two innings and 34 pitches thrown, said Thursday he was “feeling better.” At the same time, he didn’t throw at all and has been instructed by the Oakland medical crew not to throw again until Friday when the A’s will be in Houston.
“We’ll see how it is tomorrow,” Manaea said after receiving some treatment for the shoulder tightness, include a massage. “Since I haven’t thrown, I don’t know how it will be but it just does feel better.”
Manager Bob Melvin said “once he plays catch tomorrow we’ll have a better idea of where we’re at going forward.”
Were the A’s to keep to a regular schedule, Manaea would be down to start the series opener in Minnesota Tuesday. There are, however, two variables in the mix in addition to the strength of Manaea’s arm.
One is that the A’s have a day off Monday, which means if there was need to, Oakland easily could skip Manaea one turn in the rotation without having to send him to the disabled list. The other is that Sonny Gray, who would have been the opening day starter were he healthy, is healthy now and is eligible to come off the DL any old time he feels better.
“First and foremost, it’s going to be how he feels starting tomorrow when he actually does start playing catch,” Melvin said of Manaea.
Gray threw Thursday in Nashville on an injury rehabilitation assignment, and were the A’s to keep him on schedule, he would be down to start Tuesday.
Right-handed reliever John Axford, out with a right shoulder strain, has begun to throw, and Melvin said there was a possibility that he could join the team later on the road trip so that the manager and his staff could evaluate Axford during his rehab process. “He’s playing catch out to 90 feet,” Melvin said. “If he’s going to throw a bullpen, we’d certainly like to see him.”
Josh Phegley wouldn’t normally start against a right-handed pitcher, but with the A’s have late-night travel to Houston, he was Thursday’s starting catcher, giving Stephen Vogt the night off with the idea that Vogt would start Friday against the Astros.
Coming into the game, Yonder Alonso not only leads the A’s in RBI with 13, but he also leads all American League first basemen