Daniel Gossett got the surprise start Sunday after the news filtered out that Sonny Gray wasn’t going to the World Baseball Classic.
The thing is, Gossett didn’t look surprised at all in what turned out to be a late Oakland 5-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
He walked a couple, which is out of the ordinary for him, but didn’t allow any hits and faced just one batter over the minimum.
“That’s not the command he’s used to,” manager Bob Melvin said. “But this is a results-based game.”
Kendall Graveman was supposed to start Sunday, but the A’s changed their rotation plans for the week by pushing him back to Monday as the A’s reacted to the knowledge that Gray would be with the club all spring. To get things to work, Gossett, who was supposed to come out of the bullpen, instead started and threw two scoreless innings.
“This was my first game ever on this field,” Gossett said. “It was exciting to be out there.”
He’d come to the A’s attention by making a spirited vault through the Oakland minor league system, going a combined 10-6 with a 2.69 ERA and 1.08 WHIP while pitching at Class-A Stockton, Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville.
Melvin has put Gossett forward as one of those who could assert himself as a candidate for the fifth spot in the starting rotation.
“He’s impressed everybody in the organization last year,” the manager said. “You are talking about that fifth spot, and who knows? There is always somebody who comes out of the pack, and impresses you to the point where who knows.”
Catcher Josh Phegley, who had only caught Gossett in a couple of bullpens, liked what he saw in the two innings.
“I told him he might be nervous,” the catcher said. “But he had good movement on his pitches, a good curve and slider.”
Down by three runs in the seventh, the A’s got one of those runs back when rookie outfielder Jaycob Brugman singled a run home.