MESA, Ariz. — The A’s sent right-hander Daniel Gossett down to the minors Sunday morning, but he continued boosting his stock while participating in his first major league camp.
Manager Bob Melvin went so far as to say Gossett appears first in line should the A’s need to dip into their Triple-A rotation to bring a starter up.
“The talk of these (available) ‘4’ and ‘5’ spots, typically over the course of a season we run through quite a few guys,” Melvin said. “So he knows that he is now in line for one of those spots, and his job is to go down and perform and continue to develop in the fashion we’ve seen. If he continues to do that it won’t be long before he’s here. As far as the starting pitchers that have gone (to the minors) that look to potentially be here, he’s at the top of the list.”
The 24-year-old Gossett, a second-round pick out of Clemson in 2014, appeared in three exhibitions. He gave up three runs and just two hits in 6 1/3 innings, though he did issue six walks. For a guy who’s only pitched two games as high as Triple-A, Gossett impressed Melvin with his poise and especially his stuff.
“He’s got a good sinker, got a good cutter. When he’s good, he’s proficient in throwing strikes,” Melvin said. “The next thing to come for him will be the changeup and breaking ball. But there’s a lot of similarities between him and Kendall Graveman, for me, in the way he pitched. You’re always trying to find a comp for you that you can kind of emulate, go back and watch video of. And I think they’re pretty good comps.”
Gossett went 10-6 with a 2.69 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP last season in 27 starts, split between all three levels of the farm system. He led A’s minor leaguers with 151 strikeouts.
Another outfielder is dealing with an injury that could affect his battle for a 25-man roster spot. Jaff Decker was scratched from Sunday’s lineup after he hurt an oblique muscle a day earlier while hitting in the cage. The non-roster outfielder has played well enough to thrust himself into the conversation to be the fifth outfielder should the A’s keep that many.
Jake Smolinski underwent right shoulder surgery Friday and is expected to be sidelined for an extended period. With Smolinski out, Alejandro De Aza was already looking like the favorite to be the potential fifth outfielder. But Decker has played well.
“Those things are tough to forecast,” Melvin said of oblique injuries. “For sure it’ll be a few days but I think we’ll get a better idea come tomorrow or the next day. And that’s unfortunate because he was having a good camp.”