"He's thrown three bullpens, he's thrown to hitters, we're just skipping one step," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Physically he feels great, so it's just about getting out there and getting some results like we're used to seeing out of him. We're just skipping one short of what we originally thought the process would be."
Melvin spoke to Gray by phone Saturday evening and said his ace is on board with the decision.
"He wants to pitch," Melvin said. "He sees how things go, he's a team guy that wants to help out his team."
Gray was 3-5 with a 6.19 ERA in the nine starts preceding his first career DL stint, and there's thought that the injury, though minor, was affecting his arm slot and extension. As a result, his typically pristine command was absent.
Come Sunday, the A's are hoping he can rediscover the form that made him an All-Star last season. Gray was 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA in 31 starts in 2015, finishing third in American League Cy Young voting.
Hill, meanwhile, will be held back from pitching for several more days because of ongoing groin pain. The lefty will avoid the DL, though, thanks to team off-days on Monday and Thursday. The A's anticipate Sean Manaea and Jesse Hahn to start the club's two games in Milwaukee on Tuesday and Wednesday, meaning Hill is likely to pitch in next weekend's series in Cinicinnati.
"I think it's probably wise not to push it and then have something happen where it turns into, instead of missing a start, I'm missing a month or so," Hill said. "For me, it's hard to come up with that decision, but I think that's what ultimately, in the end, when you use common sense, is the right thing to do. It's the toughest thing to do, but it's the best thing to do."
Hill, who is 8-3 with a 2.25 ERA, refrained from baseball activity Saturday but planned on playing catch on Sunday.
• The A's recalled left-hander Daniel Coulombe for relief help on Saturday, optioning Andrew Triggs to Triple-A Nashville a day after the right-hander threw four innings out of the bullpen. Coulombe joins the A's for a third time this season, having compiled a 4.76 ERA in three outings over his first two stays.
• Right-hander R.J. Alvarez (elbow surgery) made his first rehab start with Stockton on Friday. He allowed one hit, a homer, and struck out two in one inning, needing just eight pitches. "He felt great," Melvin said.
• The Brewers have returned infielder/outfielder Colin Walsh to the A's. Walsh, selected by Milwaukee in the Rule 5 Draft, was designated for assignment May 31. He'll report to Triple-A Nashville.