Daniel Mengden

Daniel Mengden on track to pitch for A's when 2020 MLB season starts

Daniel Mengden on track to pitch for A's when 2020 MLB season starts

A’s starter Daniel Mengden would have missed all the regularly scheduled MLB games in April and May, anyway.

“I had three surgeries this offseason, it was fun,” Mengden sarcastically told NBC Sports California via FaceTime on Wednesday.

Two procedures were necessary to address a digestive issue, and the third was arthroscopic surgery on his throwing elbow in February.

The good news: Mengden should be on track to return, if MLB can.

“I’m about 95 percent,” Mengden said. “Throwing all pitches in bullpen sessions right now. For me, I’ve been on the high side, because I’m trying to get my arm back and feeling good.”

His offseason began in October with an undiagnosed intestinal issue which saw him quickly lose about 25 pounds.

“My doctor here thinks it was some sort of tapeworm that was eating away at me,” Mengden said.  “I don’t know if you saw me [in Arizona], or if I looked a little smaller. Right about spring training I was on the climb back up.”

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The mustached righty is eager for baseball to resume games, but also recognizes the realistic hygiene challenges baseball can’t avoid, specifically for a pitcher via saliva and sweat.

“It comes so natural to some of us,” Mengden said. “I’m touching the ball with my hands. I’m wiping my forehead off. As a pitcher, we’re putting ourselves all over this baseball in a sense.“

MLB and the players association are currently hoping to secure a plan where a second “spring training” can begin in June, with games scheduled around July 4.

A's pitcher Daniel Mengden undergoes successful right elbow surgery

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USATSI

A's pitcher Daniel Mengden undergoes successful right elbow surgery

A's pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training on Wednesday, and there already is news to begin the 2020 season.

Pitcher Daniel Mengden underwent successful right elbow surgery on Monday, the team announced.

According to the release, Dr. Keith Meister, at TMI Sports Medicine and Orthopedics in Arlington, Tex., performed the procedure by shaving off a small spur "on the posterior aspect of the olecranon."

Mengden was part of the A's rotation during part of the 2019 season where he finished his campaign with a 4.83 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 42 strikeouts in 59.2 innings. He started nine of his 13 outings.

Mengden also spent a good chunk of the season with Triple-A Vegas, pitching in 13 games.

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Mengden already was on the bubble going into the spring, and he is out of minor league options. 

What Dallas Braden wants to see from A's rotation before MLB trade deadline

What Dallas Braden wants to see from A's rotation before MLB trade deadline

OAKLAND -- With the MLB trade deadline now just four days away, rumors are quickly spreading around the big leagues.

Even with their recent acquisition of Homer Bailey, the A's still figure to be in the market for at least one more starting pitcher. While there should be several quality starters available, Oakland is far from the only club looking to add starting pitching, which could drive the price up.

"I think it's safe to say that everybody could use help in the starting rotation in an effort to get yourself to the postseason and be able to compete in the postseason," NBC Sports California analyst Dallas Braden said Friday. "With that being said, there are guys we have seen that I think can get that job done. Anytime you can get a shot in the arm, à la a Homer Bailey, who was throwing the ball well -- sure, he hit a little bit of a road bump last time out -- that is what it is. But if you can continue to supplement the performances that we're getting out of the guys we already have here, I think everybody would raise their hand and say, 'Sure, we'll take another starter.'"

As it currently stands, the A's rotation consists of Mike Fiers, Brett Anderson, Chris Bassitt, Daniel Mengden and Bailey. Fiers has been phenomenal the past three months, winning each of his last seven decisions and registering 12 consecutive quality starts. His 3.52 ERA leads Oakland starters.

Anderson has also been mostly effective with a 9-6 record and 4.05 ERA. After that, it gets a little dicey. Bassitt and Mengden have been wildly inconsistent and Bailey is coming off a two-inning, nine-run disaster in Houston.

"I think what we've seen is that there have obviously been peaks and valleys in their success, and flashes of greatness as well," Braden assessed. "So you're just trying to bottle that and create as much consistency as possible right now. I think what you hope starts to develop is that taste of where we're headed and some friendly competition ensuing -- kind of forcing that next guy who's going to take the ball to do better than you just did."

The A's should also benefit from the expected return of left-hander Sean Manaea in early August, nearly a year after shoulder surgery. Top prospect Jesús Luzardo could potentially be another option in late August or September -- he is currently recovering from a lat strain -- with Marco Estrada possibly returning from his back injury at some point as well.

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The next few days should certainly be very interesting all across baseball, especially when it comes to starting pitchers on the move. Expect the A's to make some noise before July 31.

The only question is how loud.