Sonny Gray has been placed on the disabled list by the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics revealed that Gray suffered a strained right trapezius, resulting in a stint on the 15-day DL. A report from MLB.com came out on Sunday, May 22, stating that this is the first time that Gray has been placed on the disabled list in his career. The 26-year-old pitcher hasn’t looked like his old self during the 2016 MLB season, suggesting that a problem has been amiss before this instance.
The Athletics have already made the corresponding move to recall left-handed pitcher Daniel Coulombe from Triple-A Nashville. Coulombe was with the team earlier in the season, pitching two innings and allowing three runs in a May 10 game. During his time down in Triple-A, Coulombe appeared in 13 games, holding opponents to a 0.135 batting average and posting a 0.56 ERA along the way. He could get to see a lot of innings if Gray is on the DL for an extended amount of time.
This Sonny Gray injury news may not be that surprising to many Oakland Athletics fans, as there had been rumors that something was wrong with him this season. This trip to the disabled list may simply confirm a lot of rumors that have been floating around about the former first-round draft pick. There had also been a high number of trade rumors about the All-Star ace, but those might start to quiet down now that word has officially come down that he has been pitching hurt.
Through nine starts this season, Sonny Gray has a 6.19 ERA, a 1.646 WHIP, and has allowed 4.5 walks per nine innings. Those are the worst numbers of his 4-year MLB career, with his ERA more than double what it was during a 2015 MLB All-Star campaign. Last year with the Athletics, Gray was 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA and 1.082 WHIP over 31 starts. Gray pitched 208 innings, striking out 169 batters, and throwing two shutouts for the A’s. Now, he is heading to the DL for an undetermined amount of time.
During a start on Friday, May 21, against the New York Yankees, Gray looked good through the first three innings. In the fourth inning, though, he gave up five runs and was pulled from the game. The Athletics would end up losing the game 8-3, dropping Gray’s record to 3-5 on the season. His next start was scheduled for Wednesday, May 25, against the Seattle Mariners, but the Athletics will now have to replace him in the starting rotation. That spot starter has not yet been revealed by the team.
If it turns out that he has nothing more than a mild strain of the muscle, Sonny Gray could be back on the mound for the Oakland Athletics in fewer than three weeks. That would be helpful to the front office, as it seemed the plan early on was that this would be a showcase season before trading him. The first MLB trade deadline of the season is on July 31, giving Gray plenty of time to get back to form before that time. This could be his opportunity to show a contending team why it would be worth acquiring him for the stretch run.
Gray still has three arbitration years left on his contract, keeping him under team control through at least the 2019 MLB season. That could make him a hot commodity before the MLB trade deadline, especially if he can start showing the talent that he displayed from 2013-2015 for the Oakland Athletics. Despite the early struggles of the 2016 MLB season, Sonny Gray still has career numbers that include a 3.17 ERA, a 1.180 WHIP, and 7.7 strikeouts over every nine innings. Those stats are over 83 starts and 539 total innings pitched.
[Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images]