Gray scratched from Tuesday's start for Cats

Athletics top starting pitching prospect Sonny Gray was scratched from his start with Triple-A Sacramento Tuesday likely as insurance in case he's needed to throw for the major league club later this week.

Gray has been outstanding in his first full season in Sacramento and was named starter of the Triple-A All-Star game July 17 for the Pacific Coast League. He is 7-5 with a 3.02 ERA and league-leading 98 strikeouts in 15 starts.

Gray was skipped Tuesday presumably because the A's might be in need of another starting pitcher either Thursday afternoon against Chicago or Saturday in Kansas City.

Dan Straily was demoted June 23 because of three scheduled off days over the last week that allowed for the A's to carry just four starting pitchers. The first time they would need a fifth starter would be Saturday assuring either Straily or Gray would get promoted to the majors.

In his first start with the River Cats since his demotion, Straily allowed six runs in six innings. Going back to his last two starts with the A's, Straily combined to allow 14 runs in his last 14 innings.

Because of his struggles, the A's might have elected to go with Gray Saturday anyway. But because Jarrod Parker left Saturday's start early with a hamstring injury, his status for his scheduled start Thursday is up in the air. Parker threw a bullpen session before Tuesday night's game against the Cubs, but the A's will wait until Wednesday to decide if he will go Thursday.

Starter Arnold Leon was recently promoted from Double-A Midland to Sacramento to take the place of Justin Thomas, who requested his release from the club because he had an out in his contract. Leon is scheduled to pitch Wednesday.

The River Cats' starters for the rest of the week have not been announced.

Unless Parker's injury forces him to the disabled list, the A's will not need a fifth starter again until July 23, meaning the pitcher that starts Saturday will likely get sent back to Sacramento immediately after.

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