Editor's note: The video above is postgame of Sonny Gray after his final start before being placed on the disabled list
OAKLAND — The A’s are targeting their June 10 game at Cincinnati for Sonny Gray’s return to the rotation, provided he continues progressing well from a strained trapezius muscle.
First, Gray will throw another bullpen session Thursday and then is scheduled for a rehabilitation start Sunday with Single-Stockton, which plays at home that night against Visalia.
The A’s were debating whether to have Gray stick with the team and simply throw a simulated game or go out and pitch in an actual game with one of the minor league affiliates.
[STIGLICH: Notes: Gray feels 'more rhythm in my delivery' in Tuesday session]
“You have to kind of create your own intensity for simulated games,” manager Bob Melvin said, “where in a real game it’s a little different scenario, so we’ll do that with him.”
The A’s received encouraging news all around regarding their pitchers on the mend. Rich Hill, dealing with a strained groin, felt good while throwing off the mound Wednesday morning. He will take the ball as planned Saturday at Houston. Also, right-hander Henderson Alvarez threw 40 pitches off the mound, his first bullpen session since aggravating his throwing shoulder in mid-May. Melvin said Alvarez will likely throw off the mound again this weekend and then possibly make a rehab start or throw a simulated game after that, meaning his possible return isn’t far off.
“As far as our disabled list has gone, just getting Jed (Lowrie) back and (Josh) Phegley back — with Sonny on the way — all these things are going to be shots in the arm for us,” Melvin said. “We’re starting to, knock wood, see a resurgence in guys coming as opposed to going.”
Help could be on the way soon for the bullpen as well. Reliever Liam Hendriks, who has missed the past 22 games with a triceps strain, is scheduled for a simulated game this weekend with Stockton.