A.J. Griffin exits start against Blue Jays with tight shoulder, MRI shows no damage

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UPDATE: Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says Griffin’s MRI turned up clean.

4:57 PM: Lee reports that Griffin exited due to right shoulder tightness.

4:46 PM: According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, Athletics right-hander A.J. Griffin left his start against the Blue Jays this afternoon in the top of the second inning with an apparent injury.

No word yet on the exact nature of the injury, but Griffin’s velocity took a pretty big dip over his final couple of pitches. He was visited on the mound by Athletics manager Bob Melvin and team trainer Nick Paparesta before being replaced by Jordan Norberto. Not what you want after last night’s 15-inning marathon.

Griffin has been a nice surprise for the A’s since making his major league debut on June 24, posting a 2.42 ERA and 35/10 K/BB ratio in 44 2/3 innings. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes that Brandon McCarthy is slated to make his latest minor league rehab start with Triple-A Sacramento tonight, so he would be on his regular turn if needed. McCarthy has been sidelined since June 19 with a right shoulder strain.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.