Sonny Gray has struggled this season and on Sunday, the Oakland Athletics placed him on the 15-day disabled list. (Mike Carlson/AP)

Sonny hits the shelf

It’s been a nightmarish 2016 campaign for the Oakland Athletics’ Sonny Gray since Opening Day, when he was scratched due to a bout with stomach flu.

Things haven’t gotten much better for the boy-faced ace since then. Through nine starts, he’s sporting a 6.19 earned run average — including an abysmal five-start stretch with a 10.38 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .337.

And on Sunday, the A’s placed him on the disabled list.

Gray’s last outing came Friday, when he once again threw too many pitches while not getting outs.

“I was just missing a lot,” Gray said after the 8-3 loss to the Yankees. “I threw a lot of balls in the dirt, got deep into a lot of counts and definitely didn’t put any guys away. It’s tough. I don’t know. It’s just not something that I really expect from myself.”

The injury could be more severe than the A’s would like to admit. Manager Bob Melvin previously noted some “red flags” being raised in the beginning of May.

My only hope is that resting his strained right trapezius — the neck and back muscles that move the head and shoulder — helps Gray return to his former dominant self. Mostly because he deserves a big payday after earning about a half-million dollars a year since joining the A’s in 2013, despite being one of the better pitchers in the league.

Gray’s stint on the DL is retroactive to May 21, which means he’ll be eligible to return June 7 for Oakland’s series at Milwaukee. He shouldn’t rush back because he’s the 13th player to hit the Athletics’ disabled list and, accordingly, their playoff hopes are slim at best. But things get complicated when you’re in the last year of a deal before arbitration.

Karl Buscheck contributed to this report

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