PHOENIX -- The A's bullpen took a bit of a hit Friday with the news that Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook, the lefty-righty setup punch the last two seasons, aren't healthy enough to start spring training without restrictions.
Doolittle suffered a right calf injury while running a few days ago and will be brought along slowly, but it doesn't seem his opening day (March 31 vs. Cleveland) is endangered.
The same can't be said for Cook. "I'm not going to be ready come Game 1 of spring training," he said. "That's not the goal; I want to be ready for Game 1 of the season."
Manager Bob Melvin said the club's thinking is that the right-hander's status, which was described as inflammation in the shoulder, "is not serious" but added that the pain in Cook's right shoulder will keep him off the mound for the near term.
Melvin pointed out that last spring the club held Cook and Doolittle out of early drills because of their workload down the stretch in 2012, and both pitchers were fresh and in form come April.
The injuries underscore the importance of the offseason moves that brought relievers Jim Johnson and Luke Gregerson into the fold. If Cook and/or Doolittle can't be ready for the opener, the club should be covered and not feel any need to rush them.
Melvin said one other pitcher, Fernando Rodriguez, will be held out of Cactus League games early on and might not pitch in a big league spring game at all.
Rodriguez said he's been throwing for a month after taking 2013 off to recover from Tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery, and added, "I can't wait to get started."
Even Melvin admits Rodriguez has "the ball flying out of his hand."
The manager said the plan is to have Rodriguez work with pitchers during their drills but not to throw on the same kind of schedule as healthy pitchers.
Feb. 26 at Giants
March 31 vs. Cleveland