With manager Bob Melvin and pitching coach standing right over his shoulder and trainers, coaches and even a few teammates huddled around the batting cage, Sonny Gray faced batters for the first time in over a month-and-a-half before the second-to-last home game of the season.
The Oakland Athletics’ manager said that Gray, who threw about 50 pitches — 22 to 24 during the game scenario and 28 in warmups — looked “really good.”
“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” Melvin said. “If he feels good tomorrow, then we’ll fit him into a game somewhere.”
Out since Aug. 6 with a strained right forearm, Gray faced Eric Sogard, Chad Pinder and Matt Olson. Afterward, Gray insisted that he hasn’t viewed the injury as a major issue.
“We were never concerned that it was something serious,” Gray said. “So, after we got the MRI back and you could tell exactly what it is, there was never a thought that there was going to be complications or anything.”
Melvin continues to hint that Gray will make his return to action with an abbreviated start.
“I know his routine suggests he’s used to starting,” Melvin said. “We’ll see.”
— Melvin talks frequently about the importance of playing well at home, so it hasn’t been lost on the manager that his team has dropped its past seven games at the Coliseum.
“We’ve kind of cycled back the other way as far as at home here the last couple years,” Melvin said. “We had a nice run here where there was great excitement here at the park and there was artwork all over the place out in the outfield. It was a great atmosphere and it has not been recently because we haven’t played well.”
The current slide is the worst since 2001 and the A’s are in danger of posting their worst home mark (33-46) since the franchise moved to Oakland.
“The previous series against Houston, I don’t know if we had 10,000 people here, and now we have a chance the last few games to get some people out here and hopefully win some games and set a little bit of a tone at the end of the season going into next season.”