OAKLAND — On Wednesday, Oakland Athletics pitcher Daniel Gosset — who underwent surgery a year ago on Aug. 1 — observed, as reproters gathered around the corner of the clubhouse where his locker resides, that it was OK.
“I’m dead to everyone, anyway,” he said.
On Friday, Gosset threw 30 pitches of live batting practice in Stockton — his third time throwing live batting practice since surgery — but wasn’t so much concerned with how he did. He gave up two home runs to Ramon Laureano. That, he said, was more important.
“He took me way back, so I got him squared away,” said the 26-year-old right-hander. “I got I got him squared away, but yeah, I can throw all my pitches, got swings and misses on breaking balls couple of fastball swings and misses, so I’m excited man.”
Gosset’s session saw him throw 15 pitches, then sit, then get back up and throw another 15. He threw his entire repertoire.
“It was fun to kind of get back in the swing of what a game would feel like,” Gossett said. “I got to face Ramon. So that was a blast. Everything was great. It was exciting. It almost felt like competing again. I was throwing all my pitches so it was it was more of a game situation.”
He’ll have another two live-BP outings, and then will have some simulated games, before he heads to the Arizona Fall League for actual game action, working up his innings. He’ll give his body a break after that, and resume a normal offseason program, hoping to head into spring training ready to compete for a spot.
“Apparently, he has really good stuff, or so Laureano tells me,” manager Bob Melvin said. “I don’t know if that was more him trying to get back in the lineup quicker or not, but Goose has been hitting all his markers really well.”
In 2017, Gossett started 18 games for the A’s with a 6.11 ERA, striking out 72 in 91 1/3 innings. He went 4-0 with a 1.63 ERA at Triple-A Nashville in 2018, striking out 42 in 38 2/3 innings, but didn’t have the same success at the big league level, going 0-3 in five starts with a 5.18 ERA before going down with his elbow injury.
Speaking of Laureano, Melvin heard “really quickly” about the pair of homers from him, as soon as Melvin got to the ballpark on Saturday. Laureano hopes to come off the injured list (stress reaction in right shin) sooner rather than later, and has been antsy about getting back. He ran for the first time on Tuesday at the Coliseum, and ran again on Saturday.
“He came in to tell me how good Gossett’s stuff was, and I asked him what he did, and he said he hit two home runs, so he felt great,” Melvin said. “Had a walk on top of that. What we’re trying to do is shorten this period, where usually, you go about the physical stuff, get on the field and run, then go have a rehab assignment and get some at-bats, so if we can get him some at-bats here before he actually even starts running, I think it’s going to shorten the process.”
Laureano is currently only running in straight lines.
With Mark Canha’s second-inning homer on Saturday, he is now the fifth Athletic to hit 20 or more this season, joining Marcus Semien, Matt Olson, Matt Chapman and Laureano. In his first 35 games after the All-Star break, headed into Saturday, he hit .313 with four doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 21 RBIs. He’s subbed all over the field this season, from first to center field to right field to designated hitter, and he’s hit wherever he’s been. Given Khris Davis’ noted struggles — hitting .218 with 18 home runs in 385 at-bats — it’s entirely possible that Canha winds up at designated hitter once Laureano returns, and Davis takes a seat for a spell.
Ace Sean Manaea allowed two hits and struck out 12 in seven innings in his last rehab start for Las Vegas, and it’s expected that he will return when rosters expand in September, if not sooner. When he does, the A’s will have a good problem: Too many starting pitchers.
Both Tanner Roark and Homer Bailey have plugged in splendidly as trade deadline additions, to go along with Mike Fiers — among the best pitchers in baseball since April 18 — and Chris Bassitt, who, coming into Saturday, was 4-1 with a 2.36 in seven starts since the All-Star break. The only real weak link is Brett Anderson, who has a 4.57 ERA in his last seven starts, but a 4.06 ERA on the season.
With a stretch of 16 games in 16 days coming up, the A’s may very well go with a six-man rotation. Melvin also mentioned Jesus Luzardo and Matt Harvey pitching well in hitter-friendly Las Vegas. Harvey, working on some mechanical issues since being picked up off waivers, has gone 1-0 in two games with a 1.80 ERA, striking out 11 in 10 innings. Luzardo — who was on track to start in the rotation for the A’s before injury held him up, has a 3.06 ERA in his last 10 games, wth 43 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings.