MESA, Ariz. — As tough as it was for the A’s to lose Sonny Gray for the start of the season, the team has no plans right now to seek rotation help from outside the organization.
Billy Beane made that clear Friday afternoon, as Oakland’s top baseball official said he was confident in the internal depth to cover for Gray, who’s expected to miss the first month of the season with a strained lat muscle.
“We’re not currently looking that way,” Beane said during an informal media lunch. “I don’t think it’s necessarily a fertile market to be diving into right now anyway this time of year. I think we prefer to stay in-house and give maybe somebody an opportunity.
“Hopefully it’s temporary and short term.”
Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea and Jharel Cotton will be the front three starters in Gray’s absence, with Jesse Hahn, Andrew Triggs and Raul Alcantara the top candidates for the last two spots, and young pitchers such as Daniel Gossett and Paul Blackburn providing insurance. Daniel Mengden, another young starter, broke his foot shortly before camp and is still in a walking boot.
Among other topics Beane touched on:
—He’s been as impressed as anyone with his top prospect, middle infielder Franklin Barreto, who’s having a terrific camp. But Beane reiterated that the A’s want Barreto to get a bit more minor league seasoning.
“He’s had a great camp, and you can see he’s a pretty talented guy,” Beane said. “But he only played a month at Triple-A last year. He probably needs some more drills at second base. he seems to be pretty comfortable over there right now. With Marcus at short, it’s probably his quickest path to the big leagues. … Once we get into the season, assuming he continues to improve and play the way he does, he’ll be putting pressure on us.”
Beane also noted that coaches rave about Barreto’s work ethic.
—Beane says he envisions Ryon Healy being a regular in the daily lineup, regardless of whether it’s at first base, DH or third base, referencing the “energy” that Healy brings to the club.
—The fact that Alcantara is out of minor league options will definitely be a consideration in choosing the final pitchers for the 25-man roster, but that factor won’t outweigh performance if someone is clearly pitching better, Beane said.
Alcantara took the ball for Friday’s start against the Arizona Diamondbacks.