The A's learned Tuesday that they won't have Dallas Braden for a while, but there is hope the left-handed pitcher might return in the first half of the season.
Following an examination Monday in New York by Dr. David Altcheck, the surgeon who repaired the torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder last May, Braden was given a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection and told he has to completely shut things down for three weeks.
Braden and the A's had feared a potentially worse prognosis.
"He will do strengthening, but he won't throw a ball for three weeks," said manager Bob Melvin. "But from what we hear and from what the doctor told him, he just needed a shot, that it's just a strain in his shoulder, and they just want him to lay off and do more strengthening."
Melvin has no clear idea of how much ground Braden will have to make up once he is able to start throwing again in late April.
"The schedule he was on obviously we're not on anymore, and we'll start again after this three-week period is up, and we'll see where he's at," the manager said. "He certainly won't be back at square one, like he was after the surgery, but we're not even looking at a schedule right now. We're just waiting to see how he feels after three weeks and then going forward accordingly."
Braden was at O.co Coliseum on Tuesday night but unavailable for comment
But after Tuesday night's game, Melvin still wasn't ready to make a call.
"It's pretty close," he said. "There are a lot of things that factor into it. We'd feel comfortable with either of them."
Melvin said the A's would name the fourth starter Wednesday, but it wouldn't necessarily mean whoever goes to Sacramento is guaranteed to come back or that the No. 4 man stays in Oakland.
"We'll name the fourth, then we have some time, a couple of starts and you never know what happens," he said. "You can't guarantee anybody anything. Certainly (the fifth starter sent down) would have the leg up, there are so many things that can change. I think everything's still a work in progress for us."
Ross was fairly satisfied with his final spring outing.
"I came out of there after five feeling good and strong," he said. "That's probably the most important positive. I can definitely can be more consistent with my tempo, but I'm happy where I'm at."
"We just felt like he needed -- and he felt it as well -- several games in a row to really feel good about where his arm strength is," Melvin said.
Barton's D.L. assignment can be backdated six days from the A's opener in Japan March 28, meaning he will be eligible to be activated April 8. Melvin wouldn't speculate if it would happen then.
"The next 12 hours is going to answer a lot of questions," Devine said.