OAKLAND -- A's starting pitching took a beating Monday, but the Chicago White Sox didn't have all that much to do with it.

After Felix Doubront went on the disabled list with an elbow sprain, Sonny Gray was scratched from his opening night start thanks to food poisoning, and the White Sox beat Rich Hill and the A's 4-3.

Gray showed up at the park late in the day to throw a bit and get his arm loose, but the A's will go with Chris Bassitt on Tuesday.

Manager Bob Melvin said Gray will get the ball Wednesday.

With Gray sidelined, Hill got Monday's start, and he lasted 22/3 innings as Oakland lost on opening day for the 11th time in 12 seasons.

"It was an honor to have the opportunity to start the opener," Hill said. He got the call telling him of the club's change of plans just after noon. "It solely falls on me that I didn't get us deeper into the game."

Well, sort of. All four runs were charged to Hill, but two were unearned after first baseman Mark Canha's inability to bring in a throw from shortstop Marcus Semien kept the third inning alive. It was one of two A's errors on the day, and it comes in the wake of the team having led the major leagues in errors during spring training with 45.

"I elected to try to stay on the bag, catch the ball, and the inning would have been over with just two runs coming in," Canha said. "If I'd come off the bag to make the catch, probably one run scores. It was a tough decision. If I'm in that situation, I'm going to try and make the play."


As it was, the ball nicked off the top of Canha's glove, and "if I was an inch taller, I would have had it," he said.

The A's were in a jam, down four runs to Chicago ace Chris Sale. But after a single from Stephen Vogt got the A's their first base runner one out into the third, the sellout crowd of 35,067 got revved up. A two-run single by Jed Lowrie and an RBI hit from Danny Valencia gave the A's three third-inning runs and the chance to put Sale off his game.

Instead, the lefty struck out Khris Davis with two on to end the inning. Doubles by Billy Butler to open the fourth and again with two out in the sixth presented scoring opportunities, but Sale prevailed on a night when the A's went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position except for the third inning's 2 for 4.

The result was a one-run loss, not the way the A's wanted to start the season after setting a club record with 35 one-run losses last year.

After pushing Sale out of the game after seven innings and 104 pitches, the A's put the leadoff man on base in both the eighth and ninth innings, still down just a run with the bullpen contributing 61/3 scoreless innings.

Lowrie walked to start the eighth, got to second base and stayed there. Coco Crisp walked to start the ninth but never moved past that base with David Robertson closing out the win for Chicago.

"We did what we do, getting the tying run on base," Vogt said. "We showed the same tenacity."

And, as it happens, the same result.

  • An MRI of Doubront's left arm disclosed a left elbow sprain that sent the club's No. 5 starter to the disabled list. He'll be heading to Cincinnati for a second opinion from Dr. Timothy Cremchek with the possibility of surgery facing him.

    "We did see some deficiencies in his ligaments," Paparesta said in describing the MRI. "There's some fibrous tearing going on in there. He's got a muscle strain as well. We'll get a second opinion, then determine what the next course of action is."

    Having had the better part of a day to think it over, Doubront seemed to take the news in stride. "It is disappointing, but it is what it is," the lefty said. "I did it before, it was a flexor tendon and I missed two weeks in spring training."

  • The A's will need a fifth starter come Friday. The two choices are lefty Eric Surkamp and right-hander Jesse Hahn, but with Hahn having struggled all spring and with Surkamp having just shut out the Giants for seven innings Saturday after Doubront left the game, Surkamp is likely to get the call. He has the option in a couple months to leave the organization and try his luck pitching in Asia, and the A's would like to keep him in the organization if possible. Moving him in as the fifth starter for now might help.

  • Taking Doubront's roster spot for the moment was outfielder Andrew Lambo, who was sent down Saturday afternoon, then told to stay in town Saturday evening while the A's mulled their options regarding Doubront.

  • Eric Sogard (shoulder) is feeling better and took part in team workouts Monday. Melvin said the plan is for him to pick up a bat and start swinging this week. He could go out on an injury rehabilitation assignment next week if all goes well. It's possible he'll hit against Henderson Alvarez when the disabled starter throws against hitters before Wednesday's game.

  • Melvin said he got to the Coliseum at 10:45 a.m. for the 7:05 p.m. start and even so "there were cars in line with people waiting to get in," he said. "There are rabid fans, and then there are Oakland A's fans."

  • The A's took the field wearing jerseys with patches two members of the 1989 World Series championship team who died recently, Dave Henderson and Tony Phillips. There was a moment of silence before the game, and members of the Henderson and Phillips families threw out first pitches with A's Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson doing the catching.

    For more on the A's, see our Inside the A's blog at ibabuzz.com/athletics. Follow John Hickey on Twitter at twitter.com/jhickey3.