A’s forecast: Gray skies ahead

First, Josh Reddick, Sean Doolittle and Coco Crisp. Then Ben Zobrist and Eric O’Flaherty. Now Sonny Gray.

Get the feeling that the only breaks the Athletics can catch this season are fracture bones?

Gray is the on the short list of best pitchers in baseball, not to mention the one guy the A’s can least afford to lose if they want to turn their dreary season around. He has a 9-3 record and 2.09 earned with a team that’s nine games below the .500 mark, which makes him a Cy Young Award candidate if not the downright favorite.

But the A’s could be without him

for a while after he was hospitalized with acute gastritis, the worst case that team physician Allan Pont had witnessed in his 32 years with the team.

There’s hope that Gray will return to the rotation this weekend, but don’t count on it. He lost some weight and strength as a result of the ordeal, and it will take time to get it back. He also struggled in his last two starts.

Besides, what’s the hurry? The last-place A’s have almost zero chance to reach the postseason, and at 25 years of age, it makes even less sense to put his health at risk.

AMAIZED AND BLUE: ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd pulled the plug on Jim Harbaugh on Wednesday, when the Michigan man realized he couldn’t win the interview and went into a prevent defense.

Which just goes to show you, you can take Harbaugh out of the NFL, but you can’t take the SOB (Same Old Ballcoach) out of him.

THIS JUST IN: LaMarcus Aldridge has added the Warriors Jr. Jam Squad and Harlem Globetrotters to his free agent tour, which includes the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors, New York Knickerbockers…

WHEN IT WAS A GAME: Major League Baseball changed the rules for its annual Home Run Derby again. Now there will be a clock, bonus time, swing-offs, time-outs…

Balls thinks it would be a lot more fun to broadcast reruns of the original show, where legends like Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays squared off for nine innings then graciously accepted their four-figure bank checks and shook hands when it was over.

SAME OLD, SAME OLD: It’s easy to understand why the Sharks are enamored with Paul Martin, the 34-year-old defenseman. He’s soft and past his prime, which means he’ll fit right in with the San Jose Hockey Country Club. But did they have to make a four-year, $19.4-million commitment?
That tells us two things: The front office is desperate and general manager Doug Wilson doesn’t plan to be around in 2018, when Martin will enter the final year of his deal.

THE LIST: Ten best things about the Women’s World Cup:

It gives casual fans a chance to discover some game called soccer.

Boosts the Bay Area bar business. (Warning: Do not drive while impaired or listening to A’s games when they’re in the field.)

Sure beats the hell out of watching the U.S. men’s team.

Doesn’t require a major time commitment — first team to score wins.

Alex Morgan.

Provides excuse to say “Cameroon.”

Corner kicks are almost as much fun as a Billy Butler triple.

Seriously, would you rather hear Venus Williams grunt?

Team USA hits harder than the 49ers…

And it wins more, too!

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE… Brandi Chastain?

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