A month removed from having his recovery from Tommy John surgery derailed by an elbow fracture, A’s right-hander Jarrod Parker said he’s trying to keep a positive outlook as he prepares to embark on yet another injury recovery process.
Parker, who underwent the second Tommy John surgery of his career in March 2014, was very close to rejoining the A’s when he suffered a fracture of the medial epicondyle while throwing a pitch in a rehab start for Triple-A Nashville on May 8. He had surgery May 19 to clean up the fracture.
Wednesday, Parker was back in the A’s clubhouse -- wearing a brace on his right arm -- and discussed his injury with reporters for the first time. Parker said that his initial worry was he had re-injured the ligament that Tommy John surgery had repaired. Later, doctors told him it was a fracture of the medial epicondyle area of the humerus.
"That was the best of the worst, I guess," Parker said of the diagnosis. "It wasn’t anything I would wish upon anyone, because it was probably one of the most painful things -- but, forget about it and move on."
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That it’s only the fracture and not a ligament problem means a relatively shorter recovery period. Parker acknowledged that it’s unlikely he will pitch for the A’s this season, but said he is intent on doing so again. At 26 years old, Parker has already gone through a pair of Tommy John surgeries and now a fracture in his pitching elbow, yet he said he has been able to remain upbeat since the latest setback.
"It is remarkable; these things are demoralizing," A’s manager Bob Melvin said. "There is a period of time you have to kind of find out how you go forward, and he’s been able to do that."
Melvin and Parker were both asked about the potential of Parker coming back as a relief pitcher rather than a starter. Parker said he hasn’t started thinking about that yet -- "I want to play catch first" -- while Melvin didn’t rule out the possibility.
"I don’t know that you don’t consider everything, as far as that goes," Melvin said. "And you know his pitch repertoire could play in any role."
For now, Parker said he’s able to do some cardio work and will likely split his rehab time between Oakland and the team’s facility in Arizona. Parker said he took several "mental days" after his injury -- he went home to Arizona, watched a couple games of the Wright State college team coached by his brother, Justin. His family was on hand in Nashville the night of his injury, which he said was "the worst part."
"I was trying to tell them, ‘It’s all right, it is what it is,’" Parker said. "It’s just always tough when that happens. But I was able to lean on them, and that was good to have."
Parker said the most important thing right now is letting the bone heal. After that, he said, "I’ll do it just like I did last time, take it day by day and keep a good attitude about it, and bust my ass. That’s all I really can do."
* The A’s will try to snap a four-game losing streak tonight in game two of their series against the Texas Rangers. Their lineup against right-hander Yovani Gallardo:
And the Rangers’ lineup against A’s right-hander Jesse Hahn:
* Second baseman Eric Sogard appeared to jam his wrist while barehanding a flip from shortstop Marcus Semien on Tuesday night, and Melvin said Sogard was still "feeling it a little bit" a day later. Melvin said the wrist bothers Sogard when he’s swinging a bat, and it sounded like Melvin wants to stay away from using Sogard if possible.
"I’m sure if he had to he could get in there, but you don’t want to set it back any further," Melvin said.
With Ben Zobrist playing second base, Sam Fuld gets a start in left field. Fuld has seen his playing time cut since Zobrist’s return -- he started just one game on the A’s last road trip and is batting .185 on the season.
"It’s prudent that we get him in there and not sit him out too long," Melvin said.
* Zobrist was involved in a close play at the plate Tuesday when he scored on Stephen Vogt’s single in the eighth. Zobrist opted not to slide and narrowly avoided the tag by Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos. Asked about the play, Melvin said he thought the non-slide by Zobrist was a result of having to avoid Chirinos in the baseline rather than lingering hesitation on Zobrist’s part from his recent knee injury.
"We wouldn’t have him out there if he felt like he couldn’t play full-out," Melvin said.
* Reliever Edward Mujica, who is recovering from a fractured finger, threw off of flat ground Wednesday and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session off the mound Thursday. Melvin said that if all goes well, Mujica could next start a rehab assignment, likely this weekend.
* Jesse Hahn has lowered his ERA by nearly a full run over his last three starts, including an outing last week in Detroit in which he allowed one run in seven innings. Melvin said Hahn has found some success by varying his approach to left-handed hitters.
"Earlier in the season he was having a little trouble with lefties, where now he’s mixing it up a little bit more with them, pitching inside, using his changeup a little more and his breaking ball in different counts," Melvin said. "(He’s) not just (throwing) sinker away and trying to get a ground ball."
Hahn will be facing the Rangers for the second time this season; in his first start, April 7, he allowed three runs in six innings and took the loss.