The Oakland A's most effective starting pitcher this spring will be out for the season. Felix Doubront earned a spot in the A's rotation with a strong Cactus League showing, but he never got a chance to pitch during the regular season. Doubront left the first inning of his final spring training appearance with left forearm soreness. As it turned out, Doubront's injury was serious. He was diagnosed with a torn UCL and will have Tommy John surgery on Tuesday.
Coming into spring training, Doubront was expected to be the A's long reliever and spot starter. He earned a spot in the rotation and was throwing the best curveball of his career during the Cactus League. He left his start in Oakland in the final game of the Bay Bridge Series with the injury and was placed on the DL on Opening Day. The hope had been that the left elbow sprain was minor and that he would be able to return this season, but Dr. Timothy Kremchek confirmed that Doubront had a torn UCL and recommended the surgery.
The A's should have enough depth to cover Doubront's loss in the starting rotation with Eric Surkamp taking Doubront's place in the rotation for now and Henderson Alvarez on track to return from shoulder surgery in May. The A's also have Jesse Hahn in Triple-A and Hahn had a strong first outing for the Nashville Sounds. Where Doubront's loss will be most felt is in the bullpen. He not only gave the A's a reliever who could throw multiple innings, but Doubront also gave the A's a left-handed option for the middle innings who could face both righties and lefties. The A's currently have two lefties in the bullpen, but one is a situational lefty (Marc Rzepczynski) and the other is a closer (Sean Doolittle).
Doubront is currently on the A's 15-day disabled list, but he is likely to be moved to the 60-day DL the next time the A's need a 40-man roster spot.