As I wrote yesterday the A’s pitchers and catchers (along with some position players) arrived in Phoenix to begin their season long grind in 2014. The offseason generated a lot of excitement and optimism for a team going for their second defense of the AL West crown. One part of the team in particular was improved so much it is being considered one of/if not the best in all of MLB. Even with the departures of Grant Balfour and Jerry Blevins via Free Agency and trade respectively, the A’s vastly improved in the bullpen and added an astonishing amount of depth to an already deep part of the team. Two of the biggest members of the bullpen going into 2014 are facing early setbacks however. Here are the two injured players, their diagnosis, and what it could mean.
The first injury that was announced was Ryan Cook being shut down for a couple of weeks with right shoulder inflammation. This is not a good start to a season in which Cook is looking to rebound from a shaky second half in 2013. Bob Melvin mentioned that there is no worry on whether or not Cook will miss any regular season time. However, any time you are dealing with inflammation in the shoulder of a throwing arm, there needs to be cause for some concern.
The second injury that was announced was Sean Doolittle’s right calf strain. His bullpen sessions will be pushed back a few days as to let him recover. On the surface this does not seem like a big deal. An injury like this happens pretty regularly throughout the season. However, with Doolittle being converted to a pitcher only three seasons ago, there is not telling the amount of wear and tear on his body from pitching. That’s not to say he will be injured all the time, he hasn’t missed a bulk amount of time yet, but it will be interesting to see how his Spring Training will play out.
These two players are going to be important cogs in the machine that is the A’s bullpen. For a unit that is considered one of the best in baseball injuries will play a huge part in how the A’s season goes. Even with the depth that was acquired this offseason Cook and Doolittle will be extremely difficult to replace if they go down to injury at any point during the season.