That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Great news Gray on the mend as 2017 season approaches

March 21, 2017

MLB, Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics’ Sonny Gray throws during a spring training baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

by Amaury Pi Gonzalez

MESA AZ–The Oakland Athletics are an optimistic bunch coming close to the end of training in the desert and within two weeks of Opening Night, Monday April 3, at home against the Los Angeles Angels. Sonny Gray their #1 starter more than likely will not open the season, A’s manager Bob Melvin told me they want to be as cautious as they can to make sure his lat is healed. An MRI last week showed a late strain in his right arm, he then met with orthopedic specialist Dr. Anthony Romeo to have his right arm checked and was cleared today (Tuesday) to start throwing again.That was great news and a sign of relief for manager Bob Melvin and the Athletics.

Sonny Gray is one of the key players on the Athletics in hopes of improving this 2017 and ending outside the cellar in the American League West. Yonder Alonso, one of the A’s veteran players told me: “Sonny is a key piece for us, he can lead our pitching staff, we need him healthy the whole season”.

Watch for young lefty starter Sean Manaea, who is having a good spring and is exhibiting great control on all his pitches, specially the slider and change up. He could come into his own this season, and if that is combined with a strong and healthy Sonny Gray, the Oakland Athletics, could have an excellent one-two on top of that rotation, also with Kendall Graveman.

The Western Division of the American League could be the division of the “have and have nots”. With Texas Rangers and Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners, any of these teams could win it, and then the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics trying to improve. In my yearly chat with Angels Manager Mike Scioscia (on his 18th season as Angels manager, currently the longest tenured manager in major league baseball) he told me about his division “it should be a very exciting season” noting that “we have very good players in our division, guys like Mike Trout, Sonny Gray, Rougned Odor, Carlos Correa among many others”. And it is true, this could be a very competitive division. One of the A’s shortcomings could be their defense, and that is one department that they have to be strong in order to support a rather young pitching staff, with great arms. Another young pitcher to look for is Frankie Montas, the 24-year old Dominican who came to the Athletics in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers, he has electric stuff and we will probably see him sometime during the season.

The Angels and the Athletics are bringing up the rear in this division, but both hope to improve and strive to be at least teams that would play .500 ball. The #1 pitcher for the Angels is Garrett Richards who last year opted for stem cell treatments instead of the very famous and very routine Tommy John surgery, and the chances of the Angels rest on his shoulders, very similar can be said about Sonny Gray, who could not stay healthy last season.

The Oakland Athletics are having a very good Spring Training and manager Bob Melvin does have a much better bullpen this season, a lineup with more speed and experience at the lead-off position with Rajai Davis, who with the 2016 AL champion Cleveland Indians led the league with 43 stolen bases, and the power of Khris Davis, who hopes to repeat what was the best season for him in 2016, with 42 home runs and 102 .runs batted in.

However, in baseball it all starts with pitching, and therefore the importance of a healthy Sonny Gray during this upcoming season. The results today are good news and we will see now that he got the green light to resume throwing again.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Angels TV Spanish talent, the A’s Radio Spanish talent, and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

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