OAKLAND – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – Oakland Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray will not participate in the World Baseball Classic after he did not receive medical clearance from the tournament’s insurance carrier. Gray, who was expecting to participate for the U.S. National Team at the WBC next month, is the second player to be denied from the competition by the insurance company. Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin was told two weeks ago he couldn’t play for Team Canada.
Gray was denied insurance because of his extended time on the disabled list last season.
Oakland general manager David Forst told the San Jose Mercury News on Sunday that Gray was considered a “chronic-condition player” after spending more than 60 days on two DL stints for a strained trapezoid and a strained right forearm.
“The one exception on the book is pitching 10 innings after the injury and he didn’t even do that,” Forst said. “MLB pushed the issue, asked the insurance carrier to make an exception to allow him to pitch, and they didn’t do it.”
The A’s adjusted Gray’s spring schedule since he will not pitch for Team USA. He will make his first Cactus League start on Wednesday against the San Diego Padres, after originally being slated to go Monday.
The 27-year-old Gray originally received an invitation despite a rocky 2016 season. After winning 14 games in each of the previous two seasons, Gray stumbled to a 5-11 mark with a 5.69 ERA during the injury-plagued campaign.
Gray owns a 38-31 record and 3.42 ERA in four seasons with Oakland. A first-round draft pick (No. 18 overall) of the Athletics in 2011, Gray made a combined 64 starts in 2014 and 2015, recording a career-low 2.73 ERA while going 14-7 in 2015.