OAKLAND — Sonny Gray impressed Bob Melvin with his 48-pitch bullpen session, moving one set closer to a late-season cameo.
“He threw the ball really well,” the Oakland Athletics manager said. “[He threw] all his pitches. [It was] pretty intense what he was doing today. It was high energy level.”
The sidelined ace, who hasn’t pitched since Aug. 6 due to a strained right forearm, is scheduled to throw a two-inning sim-game over the weekend. Melvin wasn’t sure what day that outing — the potential final step before return to game action — would be.
— With 11 homers in his first 60 games, Ryon Healy has worked his way into some impressive company. In Oakland A’s history, only Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco and Yoenis Cespedes have hit more homers in their first 60 career games.
The third baseman has also worked his way into the American League Rookie of the Year conversation — at least as far as his boss sees it.
“We still have a couple of weeks left and if he continues to put up numbers like he has, I don’t know why he wouldn’t [warrant consideration],” Melvin reasoned. “I know he hasn’t been up here a full season, but you look at the overall numbers, it wasn’t his fault he wasn’t here for the full season.”
Healy pushed his way into the mix by hammering five homers and hitting .382 in 17 September games, but remains a long shot to overtake frontrunners like Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees (16 HR’s in 41 games) Michael Fulmer of the Detroit Tigers (3.03 ERA in 24 starts) and Edwin Diaz of the Seattle Mariners (77 strikeouts in 45 innings).
— The team announced that Stephen Vogt has won the Dave Stewart Community Service Award — for the second time.
“He really does [give back to the community],” Melvin said. “That’s why our fan base loves him. That’s why he’s loved in the clubhouse. He’s not just about his team. He’s about the community as well. He’s been that way since Day 1. He’s taken home quite a few of these awards and deservedly so. Not a surprise that he got it again.”
— Melvin had no updates on Henderson Alvarez’s shoulder surgery, performed earlier in the day. It was the second time in as many years that Alvarez has gone under the knife.