GOODYEAR, Ariz. — The A's pitching corps has been shaken the last few days with the news that A.J. Griffin had to be shut down for three weeks by elbow pain, then that fellow starter Jarrod Parker is out for the year needing Tommy John ligament replacement surgery.
On Wednesday there was some good news.
Reliever Ryan Cook faced hitters on the back field at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, threw all his pitches without any discomfort in his previously ailing right shoulder and said he still hopes to be ready for opening day.
Scott Kazmir, scratched from a start Monday, threw a 35-pitch bullpen, also in Phoenix, and seems to be unimpaired by the triceps discomfort that led to him being kept off the mound. He's due to start Saturday against the Mariners, the same game in which Cook hopes to relieve.
And on offense, Josh Donaldson played in the A's 13-3 win over the Cleveland Indians for the first time since leaving Sunday's game with a bit of calf tightness.
Donaldson singled once in four at-bats. Through it all, he moved on offense and on defense as if he wasn't feeling any calf backlash.
After throwing his session, Cook predicted he'll pitch in his first game of the spring Saturday.
"That's just me talking," he said shortly after walking off the back mound at Phoenix Municipal Stadium all smiles. "The arm isn't a consideration any more.
"It's about me getting game-ready."
When he was finished throwing, Cook told pitching coach Curt Young he felt "game-ready."
"Obviously the adrenaline wasn't there, but the arm, the pitches and the mental part was all there. I felt good."
Manager Bob Melvin will announce Cook's next step Friday. The team is off Thursday.
Cook, held out of games all spring after reporting with shoulder tightness, said he hopes that's all behind him. He doesn't know if there is time for him to be ready to make the opening day roster, but his goal remains to be in uniform against the Indians on March 31.
"Before, I was just throwing," he said of his previous efforts off the mound. "Today was more like, 'Let's fire it up.' I think they only hit one ball out of the (batting) cage against me."
Dan Straily, who will be asked to carry more of a load in the rotation with Parker and Griffin out, allowed three runs in four innings against the Indians and said he feels closer to being ready to start the season.
Mostly, though, he feels sad that Parker has to undergo another Tommy John surgery.
"We have the mentality where the next man steps up," Straily said of the rotation.
Melvin said Straily continues to progress, and he liked what he saw overall.
The "hit" off Cook was supplied by Craig Gentry, who was one of the handful of batters to face the right-hander.
Gentry, who like Cook hasn't played in a game yet, has been plagued by back problems, but he's close to being able to get into a game.
It's up in the air if he'll be ready for the opener. Gentry will get some at-bats in a minor league game Thursday in an effort to catch up.
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