Gray won't need surgery, hopes to return this season

Right-hander on 15-day DL with no timetable for return

Gray won't need surgery, hopes to return this season

OAKLAND -- An MRI of Sonny Gray's right forearm showed no structural damage, but the righty doesn't know when he'll resume throwing as he deals with swelling in his elbow.

Gray exited his start Saturday against the Cubs with a strained right forearm and was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday. A's manager Bob Melvin said Monday that an MRI revealed a muscle strain and no structural concerns, precluding him from needing surgery.

"I feel OK," Gray said Tuesday. "Always when you have a little bit of a forearm issue, you're always a little more cautious. You're always hoping for the best. … There's a couple muscle strains, and from that it has caused a lot of fluid in the elbow, which is swelling and whatnot. It feels all right."

Gray didn't put a timetable on his return, saying he needs to rest and do some rehab exercises to alleviate swelling.

"I have no clue when I would start throwing again," Gray said. "It's not even on the short list of things to do right now."

It's the second time Gray has been on the DL this season; he missed two weeks with a right trapezius strain from May 21 to June 4. Gray has had a difficult season, losing a career-high 11 games and posting a 5.74 ERA, the worst in the Majors among qualified pitchers.

Gray felt discomfort in the fourth inning of Saturday's start, and then felt pain in his elbow in the fifth inning after throwing a curveball to Dexter Fowler. He exited after 72 pitches in five innings.

"It's been a little bit of a problem," Gray said. "Then I think one pitch it dramatically flared up and got worse."

Melvin said the team won't rush Gray back and isn't "in a hurry" for him to begin playing catch again. He did acknowledge, however, Gray believes there's a benefit to returning this year after enduring a difficult season.

"Sure," Melvin said. "We're not going to rush him. He'd have to be healthy. But yeah I think there's some desire on his end. He wants to finish strong."

Forearm issues are sometimes precursors to more serious injuries, often in the elbow. Gray said the toughest part over the last few days was waiting for the MRI to learn the extent of his injury.

"You're just trying to sit back and wait and hope for the best," he said. "I don't think anyone really thought it was any type of UCL damage because it wasn't in that area. But you still don't know."

Mark Chiarelli is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.