Oakland A's

Trainer Nick Paparesta updates A’s walking wounded

OAKLAND -- The A’s are juggling so many injured players right now that head trainer Nick Paparesta was summoned to talk to reporters before Wednesday’s game, giving A’s manager Bob Melvin a break from all the injury questions.

Here’s a rundown, by player:

* Coco Crisp (recovering from elbow surgery) will take live batting practice for the first time Friday at High-A Stockton. Crisp will take BP two days in a row and be reevaluated. So far, Crisp has taken swings off a tee and in soft toss, and Wednesday played catch out to about 105 feet.

Papresta said throwing will be the biggest test for Crisp’s elbow as that’s what aggravated the elbow in spring training. The good news: "Hitting, everything’s been fine since he has come back," Paparesta said. "He hasn’t had the kind of locking up, catching issues like he has in the past."

If Crisp comes out of his consecutive BP sessions OK, he could begin a rehab assignment soon thereafter.

* Ben Zobrist (knee surgery) was walking around the A’s clubhouse a day after having an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee - and said he’d just come from riding the exercise bike for 20 minutes.

"I feel good right now," Zobrist said. "I’ll probably be sore tonight."

Zobrist had surgery Tuesday to address a tear in the medial meniscus of his left knee. He said the doctor told him the surgery was timely, "because when he got in there he could see there was something that really needed to be cleaned and trimmed."

The good news: Zobrist said there was hardly any swelling in his knee a day later, which is why he was able to test it with light exercise. The next week will be about keeping the swelling down and increasing range of motion. After Zobrist gets the stitches out, return time will depend on how the knee responds to ramping up activity.

The A’s haven’t laid out a timetable, but Zobrist said he’s "not ruling out" the possibility of returning by late May, on the lesser end of his original 4-to-6-week prognosis.

* Jarrod Parker (Tommy John surgery) made his second rehab start at Stockton Tuesday and threw 72 pitches in five innings. He was pleased with his command -- he struck out seven batters and walked none. Paparesta said Parker will again aim for five innings and 75 pitches in his next start and "progress from there."

"He’s really done well, hasn’t missed a beat," Paparesta said.

A.J. Griffin (also Tommy John surgery) threw a bullpen session Wednesday in front of A’s staff including Melvin. Griffin threw about 38 pitches and will return to extended spring training to pitch in his next simulated game Saturday. Paparesta said Griffin will stay at extended until he has thrown three innings in a sim game, then begin a rehab.

Melvin said Griffin’s bullpen looked "good, really good. Threw all his pitches. Looked like basically warming up for a game. I know he felt good about it."

Paparesta estimated Griffin is about three weeks behind Parker in terms of recovery time.

* Sean Doolittle (returning from slight labrum tear) played catch today after throwing off a mound for the first time Tuesday, marking the first time he’s thrown back to back days in his recovery. Doolittle will throw off a mound again Thursday and, Paparesta said, is reporting "his arm feels great."

The A’s are still not setting a target date for Doolittle to start a rehab assignment. He still needs to face live hitters first in a controlled setting. Paparesta said the A’s are trying to be "conscientious" about not rushing Doolittle, to ensure they’ll have him for the full rest of the season once he is back.

"Believe me, Billy (Beane) asks me every day the same question," Paparesta said.

* Nate Freiman (back strain) played his first game at extended spring training today since his injury. Freiman played five innings at first base and had four at-bats, recording a hit, two walks and a flyout, Paparesta said. Freiman is on track to start a rehab assignment by next week.

* Finally, Tyler Ladendorf suffered a significant ankle injury rounding first base and had surgery on it Tuesday, Paparesta said. Ladendorf, who made the opening day roster and looked like he’d be the first infielder called up from Triple-A in a situation of need, likely faces a recovery of "a few months," Paparesta said.

Call The Bee’s Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015. See his baseball coverage at sacbee.com/mlb. Follow him on Twitter at @matthewkawahara.

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