Inside Pitch: Dan Meyer Getting Healthy

After Oakland A's prospect Dan Meyer had a disappointing spring training and a rough start to his minor league season, many were beginning to wonder why the previously dominant Meyer was struggling so badly. A test on Meyer's left shoulder may have revealed the reason for his struggles. Find out about Meyer's rehab and other news and notes about the A's in this edition of Inside Pitch...

When the Athletics did their routine spring training exam on pitcher Dan Meyer, the key acquisition in the off-season trade for Tim Hudson, they discovered he had very limited range of motion in his throwing shoulder.

"As an organization, we're more paranoid about that than anybody else," A's trainer Larry Davis said. "His was bad."

The A's tried expanding Meyer's range of motion through spring training, but it didn't improve, and his velocity was down. Meyer was disappointing this spring and had a 6.62 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A Sacramento, when the A's decided to put him on the disabled list.

Meyer will now go through some painful, grueling stretches to increase the range of motion.

Assistant general manager David Forst said this was not a pre-existing condition when the trade was made.

"There's no damage, there's no structural problems," Forst said. "He basically has an exhausted rotator cuff. We shut him down as a precaution.

"It certainly affected his velocity. We all sat there and looked at the radar guns and it wasn't the same kid we saw in the minor leagues. Even a difference between 89 (mph) and 87, the way he pitches, will affect his success and performance."

The rotation at Triple-A Sacramento is further short handed because John Rheinecker (4-0, 1.77 ERA), who has pitched the best on the Rivercats, was shut down due to a tendon problem on the middle finger of his pitching hand.


--RHP Rich Harden went on the DL Saturday after being pulled in the fourth inning Friday because of an oblique strain in his left side. It's similar to the injury sustained by former A's pitcher Tim Hudson.

It's a big loss for the A's, given how Harden might have been their most consistent pitcher last year despite the presence of Hudson and Mark Mulder, who have since been traded. In the rotation, he's the No. 2 starter behind Barry Zito, but Harden is the scariest man in the rotation because of his blazing fastball.

He entered the game with a 1.94 ERA, second lowest in the AL, but he surrendered five earned runs in 3 1/3 innings, including a two-run homer to Gary Sheffield and two-run triple to Tony Womack.

The A's don't have to go far to replace Harden in the rotation. They could use Keiichi Yabu, who relieved Harden and threw 4 1/3 innings of one-run, one-hit ball. The run was unearned.

--C Jason Kendall had two doubles Friday, and how rare was that? Here's how rare: He entered the game with only six extra-base hits, all doubles.

--RHP Keiichi Yabu didn't start warming up Friday until RHP Rich Harden was removed from the game in the fourth inning with a strained oblique, but Yabu did well for himself. He retired the first 11 batters he faced. The string broke when Robinson Cano had an infield single to begin the eighth. Cano scored an unearned run after 1B Scott Hatteberg made an error.

 --SS Bobby Crosby showed progress in his rehab from fractured ribs. Last year's AL rookie of the year was on the field before the game, throwing, fielding and hitting off a tee. No exact timetable has been set for his return.

--GM Billy Beane met privately with manager Ken Macha and his coaches on Friday after the A's lost five straight games. But then the A's lost their sixth straight. Macha said it was a businesslike meeting, and Beane supposedly expressed his support for the staff.

 --LHP Barry Zito, who has the worst first-pitch strike percentage in baseball, started off 17 of 30 batters with a strike Wednesday. It was just 5 of 16 after three innings (when Zito allowed three earned runs), then 12 of 14 in the next three (when Zito allowed zero runs).

Oakland Clubhouse Top Stories