Oakland Athletics Pregame Notebook: Mark Canha scratched, Ramon Laureano will start in center

OAKLAND — Oakland A’s outfielder Mark Canha was scratched from the lineup Saturday. He’s feeling sick, manager Bob Melvin said, but could be available as a pinch-hitter.

In his place, rookie Ramón Laureano — who provided the game-winner on Friday in his major league debut — will start at center field and hit ninth Saturday against Detroit Tigers right-hander Jordan Zimmerman.

Laureano is also expected to start Sunday against left-hander Francisco Liriano.

“If you’re not feeling great and you have a guy like Laureano who had a nice night last night, it’s not a bad option,” Melvin said. “[Laureano] will be back in there again tomorrow. Give him a nice string of at-bats here.”

Canha is having the best season of career. He’s hitting .260 with 14 home runs in 88 games.

Laureano — called up to replace struggling center fielder Dustin Fowler — is expected to provide cover for short-term ailments like Canha’s while excelling against left-handed pitching. With Triple-A Nashville this season, he had 14 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 64 contests.

*****

After undergoing Tommy John surgery, starter Daniel Gossett was at the Coliseum with a cast on his right arm. While he’s disappointed he’ll have to miss more than a year for an injury he didn’t initially believe to be serious, he feels like he’s on the right path now.

Gossett, 25, at first went on the disabled list with a flexor strain and felt OK throwing from 60 and 75 feet. It was only when his rehab activity ramped up that he knew something was wrong.

With three other A’s pitchers having Tommy John surgery over the past year, Gossett took solace in the fact he’ll have company on his long road back to full strength. Fellow right-hander Kendall Graveman went under the knife the same week as Gossett.

“We’re going to be side by side during the whole thing,” Gossett said. “Obviously it’s never a good thing for this many guys to go down, but being able to have these guys as resources, you know I can talk to them and see how they were feeling.”

In 23 career MLB starts, Gossett has a 5.91 ERA. He’s been far better at Triple-A Nashville, however, finishing two seasons there with a sub-2.00 ERA.

“At first you feel for the individual,” Melvin said. “These guys work hard to get to the big league level and then … the next thing you know you’re going to just miss a year. Just talking to [Gossett] today, it seemed like he was in the right frame of mind and understanding what he has to do.”

*****

Injured left fielder Matt Joyce (back) hasn’t yet begun baseball-related activities, though he’s done some strength exercises. Melvin said Joyce’s status has improved, and is “the best he’s felt in some time.”

Chad Pinder (lacerated elbow) remains on track to return Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

*****

Catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who played the full 13 innings Friday, will start on Saturday but get a day off on Sunday.

Dan Bernstein

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