Griffin to begin strengthening program; Cook close

Griffin to begin strengthening program; Cook close
April 6, 2014, 12:45 pm
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I just can’t wait to help these guys win ballgames.
A.J. Griffin

OAKLAND – A.J. Griffin is logging lots of hours at the ballpark, just not in the fashion he would prefer.

Sidelined since late in spring training with elbow tendinitis, Griffin hasn’t thrown a baseball in more than three weeks to give the injury a chance to calm down. He will soon begin strengthening exercises, but Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin estimated it would still be a week or two before Griffin starts throwing.

That suggests that Griffin won’t be returning to the A’s rotation until well into May.

Griffin said he’s been showing up to the Coliseum at about 11:45 a.m. every day, long before his teammates because he needs to get all of his treatment done before the active players start getting their own attention from the medical and training staffs.

The inactivity is hardest part for Griffin.

“I just can’t wait to help these guys win ballgames,” Griffin said before Sunday’s homestand finale against Seattle.

Another pitcher on the mend, reliever Ryan Cook, is much closer to returning. Cook gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning Saturday for Single-A Stockton against Visalia. But Cook said his shoulder felt good coming out of the outing, however, and he’s convinced he’s ready to be activated from the disabled list.

“Obviously I wanna take the next step,” Cook said. “(He’s hoping) to get activated tomorrow, but I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Melvin would only say that Cook would come off the D.L. sometime during the upcoming nine-game road trip but didn’t know what day.

The A’s will have a tough call on which pitcher to send down when Cook does return, because there are lots of relievers throwing well.

Outfielder Craig Gentry will likely play two more rehab games with Triple-A Sacramento after going 2 for 4 for Stockton on Saturday. He was caught trying to steal second in that game but his strained lower back is coming along well.