OAKLAND — In what could be a preview of the 2017 season, Bob Melvin dropped Ryon Healy into the third spot in the lineup for the matinee with the Houston Astros.
Healy anchors a lineup that is without Khris Davis — still sidelined with a stomach bug — and which has produced just three runs in the first two games of the homestand.
“We’ve been a little bit stagnant here,” the Oakland Athletics manager said. “We haven’t had to many hits, so just kind of a scenery change and Healy’s not opposed to hitting anywhere.”
Davis, who the team sent home during Tuesday night’s loss, is a question mark off the bench.
“As I sit here right now I would say [he’s] maybe not [available],” Melvin said. “But we’ll see how he responds.”
— Sonny Gray (strained right forearm) is slated to throw a two-inning sim game on Saturday. Melvin hedged when asked if that would be the final step before a return to game action for the starter.
“There’s a chance,” Melvin said. “Now, we we’re taking each outing [one at a time] putting together a plan based on how he feels after that. There’s a potential for that.”
The manager hinted that Gray won’t pitch in relief in a potential cameo, pointing out that difference in pregame routines for starters and relievers. The team could have him start and throw just a few innings, followed by another member of the six-man rotation.
He also indicated that Gray is unlikely to make more than a single appearance.
— J.B. Wendelken, who pitched in eight games in relief, is headed back to the doctor’s office.
“He’s going to get a second opinion [but] the ligament is compromised it looks like,” Melvin explained. “So, he’s going to get a second opinion and that will determine whether or not he’s going to have it.”
The 23-year-old ran up a 9.95 ERA in his brief time with the A’s, but also struck out 12 batters in 12.2 innings of work.