Athletics left-hander Brett Anderson was forced to cut his start short on Friday after suffering a left shoulder strain prior to the second inning. He expended 15 pitches against the Blue Jays in the first inning, then was seen grabbing at his shoulder during warm-ups as he prepared to take the mound again in the second. The team has yet to announce a clear timetable for his return, though he’ll likely join fellow starter Andrew Triggs on the disabled list sometime this weekend.
The 30-year-old southpaw has been relatively injury-free this spring, despite missing significant time last year with a lower back strain and a blister on his throwing hand. He left Friday’s start with an 0-2 record in four outings and a 7.63 ERA, 3.5 BB/9 and 4.6 SO/9 in 15 1/3 innings.
Anderson was swiftly replaced by right-hander Josh Lucas following his departure in the second inning. Lucas tossed 3 2/3 innings of two-hit, one-run, seven-strikeout ball before the bullpen took over in the fifth. The A’s built up to a two-run lead behind their pitching staff with Dustin Fowler’s first career home run and a pair of RBI doubles from Fowler and Josh Phegley in the seventh. They currently lead the Blue Jays 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.