Oakland Athletics May Not Have Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin To Open Season


Mar 5, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Jarrod Parker (11) pitches during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Right-handed starters Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin have struggled in Cactus League play and both pitchers may have underlying medical issues as the cause.

As a result, the A’s might open the season with two-fifths of their projected starting rotation unavailable.

According to MLB.com, Parker will see noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews on Monday to evaluate soreness and tightness in his forearm. Griffin had an MRI on his elbow on Friday.

"“We’re two weeks away from the season and they’re both in jeopardy of not starting with us,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We’re not, even if completely cleared in evaluation, running them out there his next time. Potentially it’s a couple of blows for us. But that’s why we have the depth that we have.”"

Parker has a 10.61 ERA in three starts this spring, giving up 11 runs on 11 hits and four walks in 9.1 innings, striking out eight and surrendering three home runs.

Griffin, meanwhile, has posted a 10.38 ERA in his three starts, allowing 10 runs on 19 hits in 8.2 innings. He has given up two long balls, both Thursday night against Colorado.

If the A’s have to dip into the depth it would likely be Tommy Milone and Jesse Chavez who would take the two open spots in the rotation.

Milone has made two starts this spring and one relief appearance with a 6.00 ERA in nine innings. He’s given up eight runs, six earned, on 10 hits and has struck out four and given up three homers.

Chavez, meanwhile, has been nearly perfect in his 12.2 innings, allowing eight hits and two walks with 12 strikeouts while not surrendering a run.

Parker has some history of arm trouble, missing the 2010 season after Tommy John surgery performed by Andrews in October 2009, while he was in the Arizona organization.

Griffin had a DL stint in 2012 with shoulder tightness and was shut down for the postseason in 2013, a decision Melvin said was because Griffin was simply spent after working 200 innings.

Parker was 12-8 last season in 32 starts with a 3.97 ERA and 1.223 WHIP in 197 innings, striking out 134 hitters.

Griffin went 14-10 in 32 starts in 2013, posting a 3.83 ERA and 1.125 WHIP in 200 innings, striking out 171 and allowing an American League-high 36 home runs.

Milone made 26 starts and two relief appearances last year, going 12-9 with a 4.14 ERA and 1.273 WHIP over 156.1 innings, striking out 126. Chavez worked exclusively in relief last season, appearing in 35 games with a 3.92 ERA and 1.221 WHIP in 57.1 innings, fanning 55. He has made two career starts in his six big league seasons, both for Toronto in 2012.

The A’s acquired Parker in December 2011 along with Ryan Cook and Collin Cowgill from the Diamondbacks in the deal that sent Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow to Arizona. Griffin was a 13th round pick by the A’s out of the University of San Diego in 2010. Milone was picked up along with Derek Norris, Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole from the Nationals in December 2011 in exchange for Gio Gonzalez and Robert Gilliam. Chavez was purchased from the Blue Jays in August 2012.