When Oakland Athletics left-hander Dallas Braden suffered a shoulder injury, the Athletics continued to get strong pitching from his replacement, right-hander Tyson Ross, who threw four quality starts out of five chances. On Thursday afternoon, though, Ross left after throwing only seven pitches in his game against the Minnesota Twins. The diagnosis was the dreaded oblique strain, this one on the left side.
Jane Lee of MLB.com looks at the possible replacements for Ross if he were to go on the disabled list, and it doesn't look too exciting for the A's. Bobby Cramer has been striking triple-A hitters out, but he has been allowing home runs. Josh Outman was one of the pitchers in the scrum for the fifth starter slot eventually won by Brandon McCarthy, but he's walked 27 hitters in 37-2/3 innings. Guillermo Moscoso probably has the best statistical profile in 2011, but he's coming off a bit of a rough year in triple-A.
The A's still have four very, very strong starters heading up their rotation, but with Braden out for the season and Ross out now, the team's biggest strength will probably take a bit of a hit.