A's scratch ill Sonny Gray, turn to Rich Hill for season opener

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oakland ace Sonny Gray was scratched from his Opening Day start because of food poisoning that sent him to the emergency room for intravenous fluids Monday morning.

Rich Hill was pushed up to start Monday night against the Chicago White Sox in place of Gray, who was pushed back to Wednesday.

Hill (0-1) made a forgettable Oakland debut in his first career opener. It lasted just 2 2/3 innings, and the A's lost 4-3.

"Obviously, if he's not pitching, it was fairly severe," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Like you would expect, he wanted to do everything he could to pitch. It just doesn't make any sense to do that. You just refocus. It is one out of 162, yet this is one, it's a first look, it's a first impression. You want to put on a good show for your fans, and everybody wants to watch Sonny Gray pitch."

Hill will be making his first Opening Day start and is the 10th A's pitcher to start the opener in the past 11 seasons. The 36-year-old Hill, who pitched on regular rest, has started just four games in the majors since 2009. He went 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA in four starts for Boston in September. He signed a one-year, $6 million deal with Oakland this offseason.

Gray went 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA last season, when he had a bout of salmonella that hospitalized him for several days. This case isn't considered nearly as serious, though the team said he lost some weight.

Athletic trainer Nick Paparesta received a call from Gray at about 8:30 a.m. Gray said he had been up most of the night vomiting before he headed to the hospital shortly before 10 a.m.

Gray received three IV bags as well as anti-vomiting medication. After that, he kept down water and apple juice, Paparesta said. The righty ate at a restaurant Sunday night, and others with him also had symptoms, the trainer said.

Although there's an "outside chance" that Gray could pitch Tuesday, Paparesta said the club will "err on the side of caution and be intelligent about what we're doing here, instead of sending a guy out there with an empty stomach that hasn't been able to keep anything down for 24 hours and expect him to perform, and obviously, fatigue is the precursor to potential further injury."

"Let's be honest, Sonny wasn't very happy when I told him in the hospital that he wasn't pitching today," Paparesta said. "It's hard to tell Sonny Gray that he's not going to start on Opening Day. Sonny wanted to pitch, yes. He probably still wants to pitch."

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN's Paul Gutierrez was used in this report.