Griffin to have elbow surgery Wednesday
ARLINGTON — A’s right-hander A.J. Griffin will undergo elbow surgery in Houston on Wednesday and, like Jarrod Parker, miss the entire 2014 season.
Parker succumbed to Tommy John surgery in March, and Griffin could be staring down the same fate, though the A’s won’t know for certain the extent of his procedure until it’s completed, manager Bob Melvin said Tuesday.
Dr. Thomas Mehlhoff, who performed Tommy John surgery on A’s reliever Fernando Rodriguez last March, will orchestrate Griffin’s surgery, which comes seven months after the righty first felt discomfort in his elbow.
The injury forced Griffin off the A’s postseason roster, and he was shut down in mid-March following a handful of Spring Training outings with what was described as flexor tendinitis. He attempted to start a throwing program just last week but immediately experienced a familiar ache, leading to Tuesday’s visit with Mehlhoff.
“We were certainly hoping this wasn’t going to be the case,” said Melvin. “Losing two guys like that for an entire season is a difficult blow. Losing one’s a blow, two’s tough. You move on, but you have sympathy for the two guys that are having to go through that because they’ve meant so much to this team over the last couple of years.”
Melvin is prepared to forge on with a Griffin-less rotation that entered the day with an American League-best 2.89 ERA. The A’s have starting depth in Triple-A arms Josh Lindblom and Arnold Leon — one of which will be needed during a scheduled doubleheader against the Mariners on May 7 — but not much beyond that. Lefty Drew Pomeranz, currently stationed in the bullpen, isn’t stretched out enough to start.
Leon has fared better in the early going of the season, pitching to a 3.75 ERA through five starts for Sacramento. Lindblom, who gave the A’s 4 2/3 innings in a spot start April 2, has allowed 19 earned runs in 23 2/3 innings spanning four starts for a 7.23 ERA in Triple-A.
Melvin spoke with Griffin briefly on Monday and said the pitcher, who is 21-11 with a 3.60 ERA in 47 starts over two seasons for the club, was “in good spirits.”
“He’s always pretty happy, go-lucky,” he said. “I think the fact that he’s having it done this early gives him the light at the end of the tunnel to pitch next season. He’s looking at it very positively.”