A’s still hopeful Braden’s injury is “nothing serious”

The A’s on Monday confirmed what Dallas Braden’s gloomy face read just one day earlier.

The Oakland southpaw will not be making his next start in Seattle on Friday, as the club officially placed him on the 15-day disabled list with a stiff left shoulder.

Lefty David Purcey, acquired by the A’s from the Blue Jays in a flurry of transactions on Monday, took Braden’s place on the 25-man roster and will be housed in the bullpen. In a subsequent move, righty Rich Harden (shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day DL.

Braden exited Saturday’s outing after five frames because of the shoulder stiffness and paid a visit to the team orthopedist on Sunday, results of which A’s assistant general manager David Forst said were not definitive.

“We’re still hopeful that it’s nothing serious,” Forst said, “but we don’t have any answers yet.”

Braden, 27, was 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts this season, yielding 18 hits while racking up 15 strikeouts and five walks. It marks the third career DL stint for the lefty, who said on Sunday that he had never previously experienced shoulder problems in his big league career.

Forst noted that a decision on who will fulfill Braden’s role in the rotation has not been made but acknowledged that Tyson Ross and Bobby Cramer — who are currently stationed in the bullpen — are likely candidates.

Both have appeared in three games this season, with Ross pitching to a 3.60 ERA and 1.60 WHIP with six strikeouts through five innings, while Cramer has compiled a 2.45 ERA and 0.55 WHIP in 3 2/3 innings pitched.

Cramer turned heads as a September callup last year with a 2-1 record and 3.04 ERA in his first four Major League starts. But Ross, a 2008 second-round pick, is thought to be an integral part of Oakland’s future rotation and has showcased improved fastball location since last year, when he made 26 big league appearances and garnered two spot starts, during which he was 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA.

With Monday’s off day, the A’s could also realistically choose to skip Braden’s spot until April 26 and keep Sunday starter Trevor Cahill on his normal fifth-day cycle by pitching him Friday in Seattle.

“This is disappointing for Dallas,” Forst said, “but we’re hopeful that it’s not long-term. We’re confident we have the depth to compensate for the time that he’s out.”

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