In a classic case of adding injury to insult, Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Jarrod Parker will have an MRI on his pitching elbow just one day after the team was eliminated from the playoffs by the Detroit Tigers, according to beat writer Jane Lee of MLB.com. Parker reported tightness in the elbow during his start in Game 3 of the ALDS against Detroit. The right-hander had Tommy John surgery on the same joint in Oct. 2009, but pointed out that the current tightness is not as bad as what he experienced prior to that procedure.
Losing the 24-year-old Parker for any length of time in 2014 would be a major blow to Oakland's chances for a third straight AL West title. Staff ace Bartolo Colon is a free agent who could attract serious interest from other teams this winter -- though he has already said he wants to return to the A's -- and rookie phenom Sonny Gray is still unproven in the long-term. Parker is expected to carry a heavy load next season and step up as the leader of the staff should Colon depart.
Parker's elbow is not the only current injury concern in Oakland's starting rotation. Gray suffered a broken thumb on his non-pitching hand during his Game 5 start against the Tigers, and A.J. Griffin missed the ALDS with elbow tendinitis.
Parker had an up-and-down 2013 season for the A's. In his first eight starts, he went 2-5 with a 6.86 ERA, but he settled down from there to go 10-3 in his final 24 starts with a 3.22 ERA. In Game 3 of the ALDS, he threw five innings and allowed three runs on five hits, a walk, and a strikeout to earn the win.