MESA, Ariz. — Oakland Athletics ace Sonny Gray will begin the season on the disabled list because of a lat strain and has been shut down from throwing for the next three weeks.

A’s General Manager David Forst said Thursday there’s no timetable for the right-hander beyond the preliminary stretch.

It’s a big blow to the A’s and Gray, who was eager to start fresh following a forgettable 2016. He was scratched from his scheduled outing on opening day last year because of food poisoning and never had the kind of season he envisioned.

He spent two stints on the DL and went 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA on the heels of back-to-back 14-win campaigns. Gray, who received a $3,575,000, one-year contract to avoid arbitration, initially had plans to pitch for the U.S. in the World Baseball Classic.

RED SOX: Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a solo homer and closer Craig Kimbrel struck out two and gave up a double in one inning as Boston defeated Team USA 7-5 in an exhibition game at Fort Myers, Florida.

Non-roster invitee Matt Dominguez hit a two-run homer for the Red Sox and Mitch Moreland had a two-run single.

Red Sox prospect Teddy Stankiewicz started for Team USA and allowed Bradley’s homer and two walks in two innings. Josh Harrison homered and drove in four runs.

RANGERS: New starter Andrew Cashner was shut down from throwing for the second time this spring because of soreness in his right upper biceps.

Assistant general manager Mike Daly said Cashner had a setback when trying to ramp up his throwing. Cashner had resumed throwing after an MRI and exam last week by team physician Dr. Keith Meister showed nothing significant in the biceps.

REDS: Starter Anthony DeSclafani could make his spring training debut next Monday after missing a couple weeks because of a sore elbow.

DeSclafani was set to throw in the bullpen on Friday as a final test before getting into a game.

 Right-hander Bronson Arroyo is scheduled to make his first spring training appearance on Sunday against Milwaukee. The 40-year-old pitcher is still trying to recover from Tommy John surgery performed more than two years ago.

“We feel if his body can’t handle the workload as a starter, he can help us in the bullpen,” Manager Bryan Price said. “His stuff plays in any role. It’s just a durability question.”

PIRATES-CARDINALS: The Little League World Series will make room for the major leaguers this summer when the Pittsburgh and St. Louis play in the first “MLB Little League Classic” in August.

The regular-season game on Aug. 20 will coincide with the 2017 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The clubs will attend an LLWS game during the day, then play at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field, the home of the Williamsport Crosscutters of the Class A New York-Penn League.

The Sunday night game will be televised by ESPN.