The Oakland Athletics announced Sunday they placed starting pitcher Sonny Gray on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right trapezius. It is uncertain when he will return to action.

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Gray Comments on Injury, Recovery

Sunday, May 22

Gray told reporters he received a cortisone shot after Friday’s start against the New York Yankees. He said he believes the injury is “minor” and doesn’t expect to miss more than the minimum 15 days.

Gray also told reporters his trapezius started to bother him after a bullpen session in Tampa Bay last weekend.

Injury Adds to Disappointing 2016 Season for Gray

The Bay Area News Group’s John Hickey noted how unlucky Oakland has been with injuries this year:

Gray entered 2016 as the ace of the A’s staff. He won 14 games for the second season in a row last year and finished with a 2.73 ERA.

In doing so, the 26-year-old relied on his defense. He ranked 13th among qualified starters in ground-ball percentage (52.7), and opposing hitters averaged .255 on balls in play, the fifth-lowest mark in baseball. As a result, his FIP (3.45) and xFIP (3.69) told a somewhat different story than his ERA.

The BABIP gods can be fickle from one season to the next, so repeating his third-place finish in American League Cy Young Award voting could be difficult for Gray.

His performance this year is a testament to that fact. In nine starts, he is 3-5 with a 6.19 ERA and 5.09 FIP, which is the 12th-highest mark among qualified starters. He also leads the majors by a wide margin with nine wild pitches.

The Athletics need Gray to be excellent again if they are to have any chance of contending for the playoffs. In their rotation, Rich Hill continues to defy skeptics, but neither Sean Manaea nor Kendall Graveman inspires much confidence. Henderson Alvarez has also missed the start of the season while recovering from shoulder surgery.

That lack of depth is what makes Gray’s recovery all the more important. Oakland’s fortunes don’t hinge solely on the 2015 All-Star, but if he misses a large chunk of the year, it will all but seal a lost season.


Stats are courtesy of FanGraphs.

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