OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Athletics were still searching for depth in the rotation after all the injuries last season. Marco Estrada figures to be a front-line starter they had sought.
Estrada and Oakland agreed to a $4 million, one-year contract Friday, giving the club a veteran presence.
A double-digit winner in 2015 and ’17 for Toronto, the 35-year-old went 7-14 with a 5.64 ERA in 28 starts and 143 2/3 innings last year for the Blue Jays.
“We’ve known for a while we needed to add at least one more starter and have been talking to Marco’s representatives since around the time of the winter meetings,” general manager David Forst said Friday, a day before the club’s Fan Fest. “He’s a guy who was an All-Star in 2016, pitched great a couple years in Toronto and last year pitched through some back and some hip issues and lost a little bit of velocity. But command is outstanding as ever, his changeup has always been one of the best pitches in the league, and a guy we fully expect to bounce back and be near the top of our rotation for 2019.”
Left-hander Sean Manaea pitched a no-hitter against Boston on April 21 in a bright start to a season that ended with the ace undergoing shoulder surgery in September. He is expected to be out until around the All-Star break but is in great spirts and making progress.
“My shoulder feels awesome, I pretty much have full range of motion, and the biggest thing is there’s no pain or anything like that,” said Manaea, who has begun to mimic the throwing motion with a ball in his hand without letting the ball go. “Everything is just right on track where I kind of feel normal again. It’s incredible how much better it feels compared to how it was last year.”
In addition, Jharel Cotton had Tommy John surgery in March, followed by three others who also underwent the elbow ligament replacement procedure: opening day starter Kendall Graveman, Daniel Gossett and top prospect A.J. Puk.
Last month the A’s re-signed right-hander Mike Fiers to a $14.1 million, two-year contract.
The A’s sent right-hander Parker Bridwell outright to Triple-A Las Vegas, clearing roster room for Estrada. Bridwell will attend big league spring training.
Oakland is still looking for another starting pitcher along with a left-handed reliever, Forst said.