Cook, Gentry progressing, but behind schedule

Cook, Gentry progressing, but behind schedule
April 4, 2014, 7:00 pm
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Ryan Cook made a 16-pitch outing for Single-A Stockton on Thursday. (AP)

OAKLAND – Outfielder Craig Gentry and reliever Ryan Cook are eligible to come off the disabled list for the Oakland A’s on Saturday, but neither player likely will do that just yet.

Cook looked strong in a 16-pitch outing for Single-A Stockton on Thursday, according to manager Bob Melvin. But the A’s have a precise routine mapped out for Cook as he battles back from right shoulder tendinitis, and that schedule will likely include one more rehab outing.

[RELATED: Sam Fuld making demotion difficult to fathom]

Gentry, sidelined since early in the spring with a strained lower back, will likely play in a couple more minor league games before returning, Melvin said. He was asked if Gentry has ground to make up after his recent return from a three-day paternity leave.

“Maybe just as far as his baseball skills, but his health’s good,” the manager said.

Gentry’s return, of course, relates directly to outfielder Sam Fuld and whether or not he sticks on Oakland’s 25-man roster. Fuld has been a spark through the A’s first four games, with two triples, two RBI and a sliding catch in left field Thursday that saved a run.

Do the A’s go with five outfielders and keep both Gentry and Fuld, meaning they would have to remove someone else from the 25-man roster? If they don’t keep Fuld on the roster, they would have to send him through waivers because he’s out of options, and that runs the risk of another team claiming him.

“We’ll deal with that when (Gentry) is on his way back,” Melvin said.

With the production Fuld has given the A’s in the early going, it’s tough to envision them cutting ties with him right now.

“I knew he was a good player, but he’s probably even a little better player than I thought,” Melvin said. “He does a lot of things that don’t show up in the box score. For a left-handed hitter , he handles left-handers well. He plays all three outfield spots flawlessly. He runs the bases well. I think when you’re around him every day, you get a handle on how good of a player he is.”

In other news, Melvin said Wednesday’ doubleheader and Thursday’s 12-inning marathon will require him to stay away from a couple of his relievers Friday (he didn’t specify which ones). That means closer Jim Johnson, who has taken losses in his first two outings and was off last night, enters the mix again as a late-inning option.