Injured A's working toward returns
Eight players on DL at various stages in rehab progress
OAKLAND -- It was something of a Turn Back The Clock Day at McAfee Coliseum on Friday.
No, the A's didn't rock their canary-yellow jerseys or trot out members of the three-peat champions of the mid-1970's.
The clock was turned back only a year or so, to the days when manager Bob Geren spent all but a few moments of his pregame media session giving medical updates.
The A's, who used the disabled list 22 times to tie an Oakland record last season, had eight players on the shelf going into the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Angels, so Geren provided status reports of varying clarity on the varying stages of rehab for his injured charges.
Right-handed reliever Andrew Brown (appendectomy) was expected to pitch one inning or throw 25 pitches for Class A Stockton on Wednesday, but he ended up pitching two innings for a total of 16 pitches. Geren said Brown was expected to pitch Friday for Triple-A Sacramento and return to the A's as soon as he's eligible for activation on June 13.
Righty reliever Santiago Casilla (right elbow) threw in the bullpen at the Coliseum before Friday's game, and the next step in his throwing program is a simulated game. That could happen as early as Sunday, and if it goes well, he might head for a Minor League rehab stint shortly thereafter. Casilla already is eligible for activation.
Righty reliever Joey Devine (right elbow) played catch Wednesday and Thursday and did not throw Friday. He has yet to throw off a mound and is eligible for activation on Tuesday.
Outfielder Ryan Sweeney (toe contusion on left foot) went 2-for-4 with a double in his first rehab game for Sacramento on Thursday and will continue to play with the River Cats until he's eligible for activation on June 13.
Designated hitter Frank Thomas (right quadriceps tendinitis) remains at home in Las Vegas, where Geren said the Big Hurt has been undergoing physical therapy. Eligible to come off the DL on June 13, Thomas will not be ready by then. In fact, Geren doesn't expect him to rejoin the team for baseball-related rehab for another week.
Outfielder Jeff Denorfia (back tightness) is in Arizona getting physical therapy. He's eligible to return at any time, but he's expected to be optioned to Sacramento when he's healthy.
Infielder Donnie Murphy (right elbow inflammation), Geren said, is "coming around," but there are no set plans for a Minor League rehab stint. Murphy is already eligible for activation.
According to Geren, first baseman Mike Sweeney (left knee inflammation), who has received cortisone shots but hasn't shown significant improvement, was seeing a team doctor while the A's were taking batting practice. He's also eligible for activation June 13 but isn't expected back by then.
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.