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A’s place top prospect Mason Miller on the IL due to forearm tightness

Miller first started feeling discomfort after last week’s start against the Kansas City Royals and had been sent back to Oakland for evaluation.

Mason Miller of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the game against the Seattle Mariners at RingCentral Coliseum on May 2, 2023 in Oakland, California. The Mariners defeated the Athletics 2-1. Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

It seemed like things were headed this way when the Oakland Athletics scratched Mason Miller from his scheduled start a few days ago due to forearm tightness, and sure enough, the top prospect will now be out for at least a couple of weeks:

Miller had left the A’s amid a road trip to head back to Oakland for further evaluation, although there’s no word as yet just what that evaluation uncovered. The team has still yet to release any sort of firm diagnosis or timetable for a return, so all we can say for sure right now is that the righty has been shut down from throwing for the foreseeable future.

It’s a very tough break amid a very tough season for the A’s, as Miller had lived up to every bit of his prospect pedigree since getting the call to the Majors back in April. In large part thanks to his triple-digit fastball, he’d posted a 3.38 ERA over his first four starts — including seven no-hit innings against the Seattle Mariners back on May 2.

It’s unclear what Oakland’s plan is should Miller be forced to miss an extended period of time; journeyman Zach Neal was called up to make his first start of the season on Thursday, but given that he hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2018 and has a 5.56 ERA in Triple-A this season, that doesn’t seem like the most sustainable solution. James Kaprielian or Shintaro Fujinami would seem to be candidates, but they both got off to such slow starts that the A’s demoted them from the rotation.