Opening day got off to a rough start thanks to some inclement weather on the East Coast. Now comes disappointing news from the West Coast, as we've learned that Oakland A's opening-day starter Sonny Gray has been scratched due to food poisoning.
Sonny Gray has been scratched from tonight's start because of food poisoning. Rich Hill will pitch in his place.
— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) April 4, 2016
Manager Bob Melvin named Gray his opening-day starter early in spring training. It would have been his third consecutive opening-day start, which is pretty impressive considering this will only be his third full season.
There's no other word regarding Gray's status moving forward. As Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle points out, there might be a little more concern with Gray than there typically would be because of the ordeal he went through last summer. Gray missed more than a week in June with salmonella poisoning so severe that his internal organs began to shut down. He was quarantined at John Muir Hospital and even his immediate family wasn't allowed to visit him.
Obviously, we're all hoping this case will be minor in comparison, but it's a thought on a lot of peoples' minds. As it inched toward game time, Slusser reported Gray wasn't nearly as sick as last year and could start Tuesday.
As for Hill, the 36-year-old left-hander will now make his first career opening-day start. He was one of the more interesting stories of the 2015 season. After signing a minor-league contract with the Red Sox in mid-August, Hill was called up in September and pitched very well, posting a 1.55 ERA and 36/5 K/BB over his four starts.
Prior to that, Hill failed to gain any traction in MLB despite a lot of hype. In 2007, he made 32 starts for the Chicago Cubs, but only made 18 more over the next seven seasons. His reemergence was surprising, and though the sample size was small, it was enough to entice Oakland into giving him $6 million for one year. Now, Hill will have a bigger stage than he expected to show that he's worth the money.
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