Troublesome calf forces Nomar to DL
Chronic condition sidelines infielder; righty Gray recalled
OAKLAND -- Some 18 hours after scratching Nomar Garciaparra from the starting lineup with soreness in his troublesome right calf, the A's on Wednesday placed the veteran infielder on the 15-day disabled list.
Garciaparra, 35, came off the DL on Friday and started at first base that night and on Saturday, going 3-for-9 with a home run. He was scheduled to start at designated hitter Sunday before complaining of tightness in the calf, and after another day off Monday, he was in the original starting lineup Tuesday before informing A's manager Bob Geren that he'd be unable to go.
Geren said Garciaparra, who has been on the DL 14 times during a career that many expect to eventually put him in the Hall of Fame, won't travel with the team to Texas and Chicago for a seven-game trip that starts with a doubleheader Friday.
"He'll stay back and get treatment here in town," the skipper said. "If he feels good, he might go out and play in some rehab games while we're gone. ... He didn't totally re-injure it, there's a lot better chance for a speedy recovery."
Garciaparra didn't aggravate the injury with any particular activity; he's long had a chronic condition in both calves that causes the tightness, and the only option for relief is a surgery that doesn't bring with it a guarantee of relief.
"There's a sheath around the calf, and when the calf tightens up, the sheath gives it no room to expand," Garciaparra said. "The surgery kind of ventilates the sheath to give the muscles that room, but some people have had some success and some haven't.
"To me, at this point, I'd prefer to avoid the surgery and just see how much I can get out of it with rehab and just being smart."
The A's don't have any plans to add another infielder for the time being. With Friday's doubleheader in mind, the A's recalled right-handed reliever Jeff Gray from Triple-A Sacramento to take Garciaparra's spot on the 25-man roster.
Gray was up with Oakland from May 9-13 and appeared in one game, retiring the only batter he faced May 10 against the Blue Jays. After being sent down, Gray didn't allow a run in six appearances with Sacramento, and he's 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA while sporting an opponents' batting average of .171 in 14 outings for the River Cats this season. He's inherited six baserunners with Sacramento and stranded all six.
A National League scout in attendance at Wednesday's game said he recently saw Gray pitch in Sacramento and loved what he saw, noting that his command was excellent and his low-90's fastball had late life.
A 27-year-old from Texas, Gray, who attended Southwest Missouri State University, was selected by Oakland in the 32nd round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. He pitched in the '08 Arizona Fall League, going 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in eight appearances.
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.