The Athletics have cleared Ben Zobrist to begin a minor league rehab assignment tomorrow with High-A Stockton, just three weeks removed from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
According to Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com, Athletics manager Bob Melvin said last night that Zobrist is expected to play five innings at second base during his first game action. He was given a 4-6 week recovery timetable after surgery, but it sounds like he has a good chance to make it back sooner than originally anticipated.
Zobrist, who was acquired from the Rays over the winter, was batting .240 (12-for-50) with one home run and eight RBI over 14 games prior to surgery.
The Athletics were hoping to have right-hander Jarrod Parker back in their rotation later this month, but that all changed when he recently suffered a fractured medial epicondyle in his pitching elbow. Now he’s scheduled to have surgery tomorrow.
According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, the good news is that the Athletics don’t anticipate that he’ll need a third Tommy John surgery. However, it’s unclear when he’ll be ready to pitch again. Parker is trying to look on the bright side of things after his unfortunate setback:
Parker, who missed all of last season, owns a 3.68 ERA over his first 62 starts in the majors. He turns 27 in November.
The Royals announced this afternoon that they have called up right-hander Joe Blanton from Triple-A Omaha. He’s now back in the majors for the first time since 2013.
Blanton didn’t pitch last season outside of two appearances with the Athletics’ Triple-A affiliate. The 34-year-old signed on with the Royals over the winter and remained with the organization after failing to make the Opening Day roster. He posted a 3.89 ERA and 30/10 K/BB ratio in 39 1/3 innings over six starts and one relief appearance in Triple-A. His minor league contract had an opt-out clause on Friday, so the Royals decided to bring him up rather than let him walk.
Blanton owns a 5.09 ERA dating back to 2010, so it’s hard to expect much, but he’ll likely only be counted on to pitch in middle relief.