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Gray misses Opening Day start

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POSTED April 5, 2016 12:24 a.m.

OAKLAND (AP) — Oakland ace Sonny Gray was scratched from his opening day start because of food poisoning that sent him to the emergency room Monday morning for intravenous fluids.

Rich Hill was pushed up to start Monday night against the Chicago White Sox in place of Gray, who could go in Tuesday night’s game if he recovers in time. The A’s hoped he might have the strength to play some light catch Monday.

“Obviously if he’s not pitching it was fairly severe. Like you would expect, he wanted to do everything he could to pitch. It just doesn’t make any sense to do that,” manager Bob Melvin said. “You just refocus. It is 1 out of 162, yet this is one it’s a first look, it’s a first impression. You want to put on a good show for your fans and everybody wants to watch Sonny Gray pitch.”

Hill will be making his first career opening day start and is the 10th A’s pitcher to start the opener in the past 11 years. The 36-year-old Hill, going on regular rest, has started just four games in the majors since 2009. He went 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA in four starts last September for Boston. He signed a $6 million, one-year deal with Oakland this offseason.

Gray went 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA last season, when he had a bout of salmonella that hospitalized him for several days. This case isn’t considered nearly as serious, though the team said he had lost some weight.

Athletic trainer Nick Paparesta received a call at about 8:30 a.m. from Gray, saying that he had been up most of the night vomiting before he headed to the hospital shortly before 10 a.m.

Gray received three IV bags as well as anti-vomiting medication, and had since kept down water and apple juice, Paparesta said. The righty ate at a restaurant Sunday night and others with him also had symptoms, the trainer said.

While there’s an “outside chance” Gray could pitch Tuesday night, Paparesta said the club will “err on the side of caution and be intelligent about what we’re doing here instead of sending a guy out there with an empty stomach that hasn’t been able to keep anything down for 24 hours and expect him to perform, A, and obviously fatigue is the precursor to potential further injury.”

“Let’s be honest, Sonny wasn’t very happy when I told him in the hospital that he wasn’t pitching today,” Paparesta said. “It’s hard to tell Sonny Gray that he’s not going to start on opening day.Sonny wanted to pitch, yes. He probably still wants to pitch.”

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