Fast forward to Opening Day, and the A's sat in the same situation with three players on the DL. Getting below that number will yet again be difficult for Oakland, as the team recently watched three become four and, on Monday, saw the number jump to five.
Before the start of a three-game home series against Tampa Bay, the A's placed Donnie Murphy on the 15-day DL with a right elbow inflammation, marking the 10th time the A's have used the DL this year. Left-handed pitcher Dallas Braden was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to take the infielder's spot.
"His elbow was really bugging him," A's manager Bob Geren said. "This will give him a chance to rest it."
Murphy joins Eric Chavez (back), Kiko Calero (shoulder), Santiago Casilla (elbow) and Chris Denorfia (back) on the injured list. He started five consecutive games at second base for the injured Mark Ellis before missing Sunday's contest in Atlanta. The 25-year-old, who has sat on the DL twice before in his career, was batting .200 with two home runs and six RBIs in 26 games.
Braden joins the A's for the third time this year. The reliever was 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in five appearances before being optioned to Sacramento for the second time on May 8. The 24-year-old was 0-0 with a 2.14 ERA in five games, four of them starts, with the River Cats.
In other injury news, Geren said Ellis is "very close" to returning for the second day in a row. The second baseman, out since May 12 with a strained left hamstring, echoed his manager's words.
"I'm getting better every day," he said on his way out to take some ground balls. "I already hit today, so I'm gonna go out there and see how it feels on the field.
"There's still some soreness when I'm running on it a bit, but it's definitely improving."
The 30-year-old Ellis said there's no timetable for his return, but Geren did mention the second baseman is available in the event of an emergency.
"He knows it's possible," Geren said. "He was available in Atlanta if a situation arose, but we didn't have to worry about that.
"Luckily, we have plenty of options for our infield."
Jane Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.