SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The A's are preparing to be without pitchers Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin in their rotation to start the season.
Parker appears to be having a recurrence of the right forearm pain that slowed him late last season and will be examined by specialist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday. Griffin was due for an MRI on Friday because of soreness in his right elbow.
The A's began spring training talking about having six pitchers for their five-man rotation, but with Parker and Griffin out for at least the short term, they'll need seven. Left-hander Tommy Milone, who's won 25 games over the last two seasons but was the sixth man until the latest news, seems set to take one spot. Right-hander Jesse Chavez, who hasn't allowed a run in 122/3 innings this spring, is ready to move into the other.
"Obviously, it's a couple of blows for us," manager Bob Melvin said. "But it's also why we have the depth we have. We have Tommy Milone and Jesse Chavez pitching really well, too. Until we get a final evaluation of what is going on with these two guys, we're very comfortable with Milone and Chavez."
While Milone and Chavez had the day off Friday, Dan Straily threw four solid innings, allowing one run to the Kansas City Royals in a game that ended in a 9-9 tie.
The right-handed Straily could go from fifth to third in the rotation behind Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir, one of whom likely will now be the opening day starter March 31 when the A's host the Cleveland Indians. Milone and Chavez would complete the rotation.
As recently as Thursday, Parker was scheduled to start one of Saturday's split-squad games, though news that the supposed opening day starter was out had begun to leak. Griffin, meanwhile, was "feeling great" after throwing against the Rockies on Thursday night, despite a troublesome 10.38 spring ERA.
Melvin said Parker talked about the tightness in his forearm on Thursday after playing catch. Asked how much time Parker could miss, Melvin said, "I really don't know, but certainly the start of the season is in jeopardy."
Melvin said it was likely that Griffin wouldn't be ready to start the season because of the time it takes to get even a minor elbow issue cleared up.
"It's not like if there's a completely clear evaluation, we're going to run him out there next time," the manager said. "We're two weeks from the start of the season. They're both in jeopardy of not starting the season."
Melvin suggested the news about Parker was sudden.
"His bullpens were really good leading up to it," the manager said. "We felt confident he was over the issues he had last year. Then when he started in games, it took a little while to get loose. Playing catch yesterday, it didn't look like he was feeling great about it. So I called him in to talk, and he admitted his forearm was a little tight. We're going to be proactive."
Chavez, who threw four shutout innings Thursday, was making a case for the rotation even before the injury news came down.
Gray has been a contender all along to start the opener. But he has been so-so this spring with a 5.14 ERA.
That could leave room for the left-handed Kazmir, signed in the offseason for two years and $22 million, to be on the mound for the opener. Kazmir, like Gray, has pitched seven innings this spring, but the lefty has allowed just three hits and no runs.
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