The Oakland A's announced on Friday that All-Star closer Sean Doolittle is dealing with left (throwing) shoulder soreness and is expected to miss the start of the season. According to a statement from A's Assistant General Manager David Forst, Doolittle began to experience soreness in his throwing shoulder when he started his off-season throwing program. An MRI revealed a slight tear in Doolittle's rotator cuff and inflammation and irritation in the area.
Doolittle had a PRP injection that is designed to reduce the inflammation and irritation. He will begin rehabbing the injury once that inflammation and irritation has reduced. Forst told San Francisco Chronicle beat writer Susan Slusser that the doctors don't currently believe Doolittle will need surgery.
Doolittle missed time last season with an oblique injury, but he still appeared in 61 games for the A's. Doolittle took over as closer for the A's partway through the season. He had a 2.73 ERA and 22 saves and he earned his first trip to the All-Star game. He struck-out 89 and walked eight in 62.2 innings.
Doolittle was the A's supplemental first-round pick in 2007 out of Virginia. A first baseman early in his career, Doolittle made the switch to the mound before the 2012 season after knee and wrist injuries cost him most of the 2009 and all of the 2010 and 2011 seasons. In 2009, Doolittle had a PRP injection to try to treat a tear in his patella tendon.
The A's have several options to try to serve as the team's closer in Doolittle's absence. The favorite is newly acquired right-hander Tyler Clippard, an All-Star set-up man for the Washington Nationals last season. Ryan Cook has the most experience as a closer among the A's current group of relievers. Eric O'Flaherty and Dan Otero could also receive consideration for saves early in the season.
Earlier in the day, the A's announced that they had agreed to terms with second baseman Eric Sogard on a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. The A's have three remaining arbitration-eligible players: Clippard, Jarrod Parker and Fernando Abad. Update Later in the evening, the A's agreed to terms with Abad on a one-year deal.
In addition, Baseball America reported on Friday that former A's minor leaguer Dusty Coleman had signed a deal with the Kansas City Royals. Coleman, a native of South Dakota, attended Wichita State in Kansas. He was a minor league free agent for the first time this year.