Brandon McCarthy threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and according to multiple reports, he suffered no lingering effects from the irregular soreness that put him on the 15-day disabled list. This throwing session is supposed to be the last hurdle before McCarthy is activated. If his arm recovers Thursday he will be activated before Saturday's game. The day McCarthy went on the DL, he told me he was confident he could return when eligible on June 2. His reasoning was that the recent shoulder pain he had suffered from had nothing to do with the scapula. Last season when he went on the DL for six weeks, it was due to scapula issues. This time he had no such issues, just extra lingering soreness. He underwent two MRIs and neither scan showed any problems in his right shoulder. McCarthy said he was experiencing pain in his shoulder during his May 17 start against the Rangers. His previous start against Detroit, was arguably the best of his career. He threw seven innings, with 10 strikeouts and no walks. That start against the Tigers came after he skipped a start to get extra rest. The decision to go on the DL was a means to get McCarthy even more rest as a precautionary measure. McCarthy is 3-3 with a 2.95 ERA this season. He was the team's opening day starter. This season he has averaged 90.8 MPH on his fastball, which is nearly identical to last season. His main attribute is his pinpoint control. This season he has thrown 63 percent first-pitch strikes, and is first on the team, averaging 15.9 pitches per inning. The A's will likely be shipping several players out soon. McCarthy and Yoenis Cespedes are expected to be activated from the DL while in Kansas City. Manny Ramirez could soon be on the way as well.
The A’s six-game road trip got off to a promising start Friday as they try to reverse their fortunes away from Oakland.
Jharel Cotton shined over five innings before leaving because of a blister on his right hand, and the bullpen took care of things from there to complete a 3-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
Considering the A’s came in just 9-25 on the road so far, this was the rare occurrence of them taking control early and staying in control while wearing the road grays. Now the A’s just hope the victory didn’t come with a steep price.
In addition to Cotton (5-7) leaving after a blister opened up on his right thumb, shortstop Chad Pinder left with a strained left hamstring. The severity of that injury wasn’t immediately known.
Here’s five things you need to know from the opener of this three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field:
-- Davis hits No. 19: Khris Davis gave Cotton some early cushion with a two-run homer off Mike Pelfrey (3-6) to center field in the first. It was Davis’ team-leading 19th long ball, but just his third in 22 games this month.
-- Another solid outing for rookie: Coming off a strong 6 1/3-inning outing against the New York Yankees, Cotton again looked in control Friday before having to leave. The right-hander held the Sox to three hits over his five innings, striking out three and walking one. It’s unknown whether the blister will affect his availability for his next start, but the A’s learned with Rich Hill last season how nagging a blister can be for a starter.
-- Ninth-inning nerves: The final score didn’t indicate how tense things got for Oakland in the ninth. Closer Santiago Casilla gave up two singles to start the inning. After Avisail Garcia flied out, Todd Frazier hit a pop up behind first. Yonder Alonso couldn’t haul it in and the ball dropped, but Alonso alertly threw to second to get a force out. Then Matt Davidson sent a deep fly ball to center that Jaycob Brugman hauled in at the warning track.
--- Joyce powers up: In the fifth, Matt Joyce lit into a 3-2 pitch from Pelfrey and homered to center field to put the A’s ahead 3-0. It was the ninth homer for Joyce, who continues to provide some of the spark the A’s are looking for in the leadoff spot.
-- A double ejection: : White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson and manager Rick Renteria both were ejected for arguing a fifth-inning play after Anderson hit a dribbler near home plate that surprised him by being called fair.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Astros-A's coverage begins at 4 p.m. with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.
The latest A's youth movement embarks on its first road trip when they visit the south side of Chicago and the White Sox. Manager Bob Melvin has issued his lineup for Game 1 of the series.
Chicago White Sox:
1. Melky Cabrera (S) LF
2. Jose Abreu (R) 1B
3. Avisail Garcia (R) RF
4. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
5. Matt Davidson (R) DH
6. Tim Anderson (R) SS
7. Yolmer Sanchez (S) 2B
8. Kevan Smith (R) C
9. Adam Engel (R) CF
RHP -- Mike Pelfrey
1. Matt Joyce (L) LF
2. Matt Olson (L) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) DH
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
7. Chad Pinder (R) SS
8. Bruce Maxwell (L) C
9. Jaycob Brugman (L) CF
RHP -- Jharel Cotton