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Alcántara not among 13 pitchers on A’s Opening Day roster

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Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Raul Alcantara (50) pitches in the first inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Sept. 11, 2016.

The Oakland Athletics will enter the 2018 regular season with 13 pitchers on the 25-man roster for a second-straight season.

Raúl Alcántara will not be one of those and has cleared waivers. The 25-year-old out-of-options reliever will open the season with Triple-A Nashville. Emilio Pagán will be in the Oakland bullpen Thursday. Here is the complete list of A’s pitchers.

Starters

Kendall Graveman: Graveman is entering his fourth season with the A’s, and will make his second Opening Day start in as many seasons. The 27-year-old finished 2017 6-4 with a 4.19 ERA, bu missed considerable time with a shoulder strain. Unless injury once again befalls him, Graveman should be expected to best his previous career high in wins (10) and innings (186), both set in 2016.

Sean Manaea: 2018 will be Manaea’s second full season. The A’s 2017 leader in wins (12), starts (29), innings (158-2/3) and strikeouts (140) took a step back from his 2016 rookie campaign — his ERA shot up from 3.86 to 4.37 and his WHIP jumped from 1.189 to 1.399. Much of those struggles, though, can be attributed to the 26-year-old’s weight loss stemming from his ADD medication. He has since “locked in” on his medication and gotten back to his comfortable weight, 245 pounds. He finished Spring Training 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA.

Daniel Gossett: Gossett,25, is coming off a rookie season in which he went 4-11 — a team-high in losses — with a 6.11 ERA. He has the stuff to be a quality major league starter but has not yet found the rhythm to back up the dominance he showed sporadically a season ago, including a 7-innings, one-run victory over the Giants last August. Either he will find that evasive rhythm or find himself with Triple-A Nashville once Trevor Cahill is ready to join the big league club.

Daniel Mengden: The 25-year-old secured his rotation spot last September when he went 3-1 with a 1.54 ERA and the club’s lone complete game in a two-hit shutout of the Phillies in Philadelphia. It’s a good thing because he was anything but overpowering this spring (6.12 ERA, 1.520 WHIP in 25 innings). Mengden, like Gossett, will be pitching for his for his major league spot early on.

Andrew Triggs: Triggs, 29, was Oakland’s top starter through May last year (2.64 ERA, 1.207 WHIP), but back-to-back rough outings in early-June were followed by season-ending hip surgery. He limited base runners this spring (1.068 WHIP) but still found a way to surrender 13 earned runs in 24-1/3 innings (4.81 ERA). He is a more-than-qualified No. 5 starter.

Relievers

Blake Treinen (closer): Treinen, 29, joined the A’s via a mid-July trade with the Washington Nationals. In Oakland, he went 3-4 with 13 saves, a 2.13 ERA and a 1.158 WHIP, striking out 42 batters in 38 innings. He did it with baseball’s fifth-best average pitch quality, according to MLB Quality of Pitch on Twitter, and best sinker. He could be primed for an All-Star nod in 2018.

Chris Hatcher: Another midseason acquisition, the 33-year-old Hatcher did enough between the second half of last season (1-1, 3.52 ERA, 1.304 WHIP) and this spring (1-0, 1.13 ERA, 0.500 WHIP) to lock down the set-up role. He and Treinen also bring some much-needed postseason race experience to the back-end of an A’s bullpen that hopes to keep its team in that race this year.

Ryan Buchter: Oakland traded for the 31-year-old lefty reliever late in January, bringing a 2.85 ERA and 1.052 WHIP in 139 career games. He appeared in 71 games last season between the Padres and Royals. Buchter’s numbers in the American League (2.67 ERA, 0.889 WHIP) may have been a reason for his targeting. He bolsters the left-handed side of an A’s bullpen that had just one constant a year ago.

Daniel Coulombe: Coulombe, 28, was that constant, appearing in a team-high 72 games. He went 2-2 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.316 WHIP. His number of appearances should dip, with the addition of Buchter, which should help his numbers stay around the 2.43 ERA and 1.243 WHIP he carried through his 46th outing.

Yusmeiro Petit: Petit, 33, can fit into about any role Oakland can throw at him. He has been a starter, long reliever and even saved four games with the Angels last season when he finished his 10th big league season with a 2.76 ERA and 0.953 WHIP.

Santiago Casilla: Now 37, Casilla is coming off his worst season (4.27 ERA, 1.356 WHIP, seven blown saves) since 2009. It is possible that last year was a one-off, but it is considerably more likely that Casilla is a power pitcher who has lost some zip in his late-30s. If the latter is the case, Casila could be the odd man out when Ryan Dull returns from a shoulder injury.

Liam Hendriks: The 29-year-old Hendriks is entering his eighth big league season, number three in Oakland. He has yet to match the one season he spent in Toronto where he became a dominant late-inning reliever. In 123 games  with the A’s, he has put together a 3.99 ERA and 1.267 WHIP.

Pagán: The 26-year-old will serve as the long reliever, as he did last season with the Mariners — eight times he appeared in games in which he recorded more than six outs — something the A’s are likely to be in need of with a starting staff that has completed just three games in the past two seasons combined.

Paul Blackburn (15-day DL), Jharel Cotton (60-day DL), Dull (15-day DL), Chris Bassitt (minor leagues), Trevor Cahill (minor leagues), Frankie Montas (minor leagues) and Lou Trivino (minor leagues) round out the 20 pitchers on the A’s 40-man roster.


Kalama Hines is SFBay’s sports director and Oakland Athletics beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @HineSight_2020 on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of A’s baseball.

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