Marco Estrada

A's release struggling pitcher Marco Estrada after constant back issues


A's release struggling pitcher Marco Estrada after constant back issues

OAKLAND -- The A's have released starting pitcher Marco Estrada after less than one full season with the team.

Estrada, 36, has been on the injured list since April 17 with a lumbar strain. He made a handful of rehab appearances with various A's minor-league affiliates, but his long-lasting back issues have not gone away.

Estrada signed a one-year, $4 million contract with Oakland on January 25 and began the season as the team's No. 2 starter. However, the right-hander struggled in five outings, going 0-2 with a 6.85 ERA before being placed on the IL.

With Sean Manaea nearing a return and several other bullpen options ahead of him, Estrada didn't fit on the A's pitching staff, even in September when rosters expand. One of those bullpen options, left-hander A.J. Puk, was promoted to the majors on Tuesday.

Since Estrada was on the 60-day IL, his release does not open a 40-man roster spot, which remains full at 40.

A's starter Marco Estrada undergoes nonsurgical procedure on back


A's starter Marco Estrada undergoes nonsurgical procedure on back

OAKLAND -- A's right-hander Marco Estrada underwent an ablation procedure on his back Tuesday to try to reduce the pain he's been feeling. The 35-year-old was placed on the injured list last week with what the team called a lumbar strain.

Radiofrequency ablation is a nonsurgical, minimally invasive procedure, which uses heat to stop the transmission of pain to the brain. There is still no timetable for Estrada's return, but he will miss more than one start.

"It's going to be longer than a 10-day period," A's manager Bob Melvin confirmed Tuesday. "It's still kind of undetermined as it goes with him."

Estrada has dealt with back problems for much of his career, including last season with the Blue Jays. It recently flared up again, causing a dip in velocity and trouble locating his pitches. 

"He's dealt with this before," Melvin said. "So maybe some other guys you might say it's going to be a longer period of time, but it just depends on how he feels after this procedure."

Oakland signed Estrada to a one-year, $4 million contract this offseason. In five starts this year, he is 0-2 with a 6.85 ERA and 1.31 WHIP.

Chris Bassitt, who replaced Estrada in the rotation, made his first start of the season Monday night and tossed five scoreless innings in a 6-1 win over the Texas Rangers.

"We'll let him start again after that one," Melvin said.

Melvin also expects left-hander Brett Anderson to make his next start, despite leaving his last outing with a sprained ankle.

[RELATED: A's have no lefties in 'pen after Buchter demotion]

"I still think Brett's going to be able to pitch," he said. "He's going to have an extra day because of the off day as well, so I think we'll be in pretty good shape there."

Frankie Montas takes the hill Tuesday night as the A's try to make it two in a row over the Rangers.

A's place RHP Marco Estrada on IL, recall RHP Chris Bassitt from Triple-A


A's place RHP Marco Estrada on IL, recall RHP Chris Bassitt from Triple-A

OAKLAND -- For those who watched Marco Estrada's last two starts, it probably came as no surprise when the A's announced they had placed the veteran right-hander on the 10-day injured list with a lumbar strain.

Estrada, 35, has dealt with back issues for much of his career, including last season in Toronto. He has tried to pitch through the injury this season, but it got to a point where he couldn't ignore it anymore.

"It's been (bothering me) since we went on the road," Estrada said. "It's been bothering me but I've been able to pitch with it. It kind of just flared up. ... "It's shown. The (velocity) is down. I'm not locating. I don't hit guys. I don't walk guys. I couldn't pitch yesterday."

To Estrada's point, his fastball velocity was consistently around 85 mph in Tuesday's loss to the Astros, down from an average of 89 mph last season. He has allowed 13 earned runs in his last two starts and has a 6.85 ERA for the season.

"I was kind of hoping for a miracle that it would just go away," he said. "I don't want to go on the IL but I know it's the right decision. It's something I need to get taken care of. I'm only going to hurt the team pitching this way."

"We knew coming in that these were issues he's had in the past," A's manager Bob Melvin added. "We knew when this pops up that it's probably prudent to get him a break."

Estrada will see a specialist on Friday and hopes to only miss one start, but that will obviously depend on how he responds to treatment and rest.

"It's probably going to be a manage thing for him," Melvin said. "It's something that hasn't gone away. Keeping him as healthy as we possibly can will be important and when it flares up in the fashion it did after last night's game, it just doesn't make any sense to run him out there."

Added Estrada: "I've had issues before but normally they don't last very long," he said. "They kind of just go away over time. This one, over the offseason it went away. I was feeling good. I was really excited for this year. ..."When I'm healthy, I know I can still pitch and pitch well for this team and help them win. But right now, obviously, I'm not helping them."

[RELATED: Why A's should be concerned about Estrada moving foward]

Oakland recalled right-hander Chris Bassitt from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Estrada's spot on the 25-man roster. Bassitt, 30, pitched 11 innings in three minor-league outings this season, allowing four earned runs on eight hits, with 16 strikeouts. Last season with the A's, he went 2-3 with a 3.02 ERA in 11 appearances, including seven starts.