PHOENIX -- The A's are hitting the reset button with their starting rotation after learning Monday that probable opening day starter Jarrod Parker will undergo Tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow and miss the 2014 season.
Coming on top of this weekend's news that starter A.J. Griffin needs three weeks of rest on his right elbow before he can contemplate throwing again, the Oakland rotation has been derailed two weeks before the March 31 season opener.
And if that wasn't enough, lefty starter Scott Kazmir was scratched Monday because of triceps stiffness, though he's expected to pitch again in a couple days.
"This is a guy who meant a lot to us," manager Bob Melvin said of Parker after Oakland's 6-2 Cactus League win over the Chicago Cubs. "We'll have to do something else. This is one that we have to get past and move on.
"Everybody in the clubhouse feels bad. This was kind of a down day for us. As a team we have to move on, but we all feel bad for him. We feel we have the depth in the organization to move on."
It's the second time since 2009 that Parker will have Dr. James Andrews perform the surgery. There is a relatively small sample size to determine the success rate of pitchers who have had multiple Tommy John operations, but it's becoming more frequent.
"Unfortunately, there is more data on this than there was four years ago," A's assistant general manager David Forst said. "In the last week, (the subject) has come up a number of times. It's hard to predict right now. You don't know the recovery rate on guys with a second Tommy John."
According to some medical estimates, the success rate for a first surgery is 90 percent; after a second surgery the number drops to 60 percent.
Former A's reliever Jason Isringhausen had the surgery three times and came back to pitch each time. Talking about the multiple surgeries with the Washington Post in 2012, Isringhausen laid out the path ahead of Parker.
"You really have to follow the protocol and do what is asked of you by the doctors and therapists so you don't reinjure the graft in your elbow," Isringhausen said. "I think that's the main thing: patience. Because you feel really good really quick, and you want to throw, and then all you can do when you do that is tear it up again."
Parker, who told Melvin late last week that he'd been dealing with right forearm discomfort of late, met with Andrews on Monday in Florida. Andrews is scheduled to perform the surgery on Parker a week from Tuesday in Pensacola.
With Parker, 25, sidelined, the A's will have to look elsewhere for their opening day starter. The two candidates are Sonny Gray and Kazmir, assuming he's healthy. Kazmir has not allowed a run in seven spring innings whereas Gray has a 6.30 ERA in 10 innings.
The A's do have some pitching depth. Tommy Milone, who won 25 games the last two seasons, now is a lock for the rotation. So is Jesse Chavez, who has started just twice in 191 career games.
"We're not going to have Jarrod Parker in 2014," Forst said. "The first thing in these situations is we feel bad for Jarrod. He worked hard this offseason after some struggles at the end of the year and was going to be at the top of the rotation. But we can only play the hand that we're dealt."
Parker flew back from Florida to Arizona late Monday and is expected to be in the Oakland clubhouse Tuesday morning.
Forst said he didn't talk to Parker, but he was standing with trainer Nick Paparesta when he was talking to Parker, "and (Parker) was obviously upset."
The A's could have traded Milone this winter when it appeared he was being squeezed out of the rotation, but it was just this kind of eventuality the club had in mind when the lefty was kept around.
"This is why we stretched out Jesse Chavez this spring," Forst said. "And this is why we didn't trade Milone in the offseason when people were saying we had too much starting pitching. The need for (pitching) depth is always there. In this case, the five starters didn't make it to opening day."
Forst said the team has no plans at this point to explore the trade market. The A's could turn to Drew Pomeranz or Josh Lindblom to start if Chavez or Milone don't pan out. Both Pomeranz (Rockies) and Lindblom (Rangers) started at times last year. Oakland also has high hopes for Arnold Leon, who is on the 40-man roster and was 5-3 with a 4.42 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) for Triple-A Sacramento in 2013.