MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Oakland Athletics pitcher Jarrod Parker threw two innings of a simulated game and faced hitters for the second time this spring while continuing his comeback from a second Tommy John surgery.
The 26-year-old right-hander threw 30 pitches — 15 in each inning — and looked sharp as manager Bob Melvin and pitching coach Curt Young looked on. He faced five batters, getting three fly balls and an infield grounder.
“There are a few things I’m working on but today it’s just get out there and pitch a little bit, feel good and move on,” Parker said. “I’m not putting too much into it but it’s exciting at the same time just to play the game out here and be a part of everything.”
Parker missed the 2014 season after undergoing surgery on his right elbow in March. He had the same surgery in 2009 and bounced back to win 25 games from 2012-2013 before getting hurt again last spring.
Coming back from one major elbow surgery is hard enough. A second would seem to increase the difficulty, but the A’s remain optimistic and encouraged.
“I know the numbers but I also try to go off what I’m seeing, and what I’m seeing right now is good stuff,” Melvin said. “I’m positive about where he is right now.”
Parker will likely pitch in another simulated game before the team determines the next step. It’s doubtful that he’ll be ready for the start of the regular season and will likely remain in Arizona for an extended spring training before rejoining the club.
“There’s every bone in my body that feels like I could be ready sooner or soon but I think the smart side of me says be cautious and trust the people that that’s their thing,” Parker said. “Right now it’s take what you take out of it and move on. There’s not too much that we’re laboring over at this point.”
The A’s insist they’re not rushing Parker back, even though they have three holes to fill in their starting rotation.
“As far as the progression goes, he’s right on schedule,” Melvin said. “That’s the second time he’s thrown curveballs and dropping it in for strikes, which means he’s staying back and mechanically throwing the ball the way he wants to.”