Cahill officially named A’s Tuesday starter
Manager Bob Melvin made the much-expected decision official Monday — a decision the skipper said was the plan all along. Though the team has made no official announcement of a roster move corresponding with Cahill’s call-up, the 30-year-old will get the ball against the White Sox Tuesday, when the A’s celebrate 50 years in Oakland with free admission.
“We look forward to seeing him on the mound in front of like 250, 000 people tomorrow.”
An exaggeration to be sure, but with the tarps removed from the entire third deck of seating — including the outfield section dubbed “Mount Davis” after former Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis — maximum capacity of the Oakland Coliseum exceeds 63,000.
Melvin said it could help to have a guy with the experience of Cahill, who has pitched in the postseason (with the Cubs in 2015), on the mound in front of such a crowd when emotions can tend to run high and command can take a vacation:
“I’ve thought about that a little bit. … Maybe (it will help) a little bit there to have a guy that has pitched quite a few games in the big leagues to be able to start that one.”
And Cahill certainly has pitched a few big league games. The Oceanside native has made 283 big league appearances, 188 as a starter, in the regular season, and six more, all as a reliever, in the 2015 postseason as a member of the Cubs. Over that time, Melvin said, the A’s 2006 second-round draft selection has developed a deeper arsenal.
Originally a sinker-curveball guy, Cahill, who was the first starter ever sent out in Melvin’s Oakland managerial career, has since added a slider, cutter and changeup. Still, the sinker is his bread and butter, which keeps him one pitch away from two outs, as his former- and current-skipper said.
In two appearances with Triple-A Nashville, Cahill allowed four hits and four earned runs in 9-2/3 innings of work. The report Melvin received from the Sounds said that sinker is as sharp as ever, as is his command:
“Good sink, kinda overhand sink, and had a good breaking ball, a good changeup. He had pretty good command of his pitches.”
Melvin was noncommittal regarding a possible pitch-count limitation for Cahill in his Oakland return, adding that he had gone as high as 80 throws with Nashville.
With Ryan Dull fresh off the disabled list, and the A’s back to a 12-man pitching staff, the move to make a roster spot for Cahill will come from that group. Chris Hatcher (2-0, 13.50 ERA) has struggled out of the bullpen while Opening Day starter Kendall Graveman (0-3, 9.87 ERA) continues to search for his normal form. It is unlikely anyone is optioned to Nashville, however, rather one of the two finding their way onto the 10-day DL suspending such a decision.
Pinder back in Oakland, Barreto back to Nashville
Utility-man Chad Pinder (right knee) is off of that DL after missing the entirety of Oakland’s recent eight-game road trip. With his return, infielder Franklin Barreto was optioned back to Triple-A Nashville after appearing in just one game and never getting an at-bat.
Prior to hyper-extending his right knee, Pinder had been swinging an effective bat. Said Melvin:
“He was swinging the bat really well, too, when he got hurt. But he came back pretty quickly — played a couple games (in the minor leagues) had a home run (Sunday) night, played outfield one day, played second base one day.”
Pinder, who serves as the A’s primary back-up at shortstop, second base and both corner outfield positions, is a welcomed return, Melvin said:
“It’s nice to have him back because he can play so many different positions for you, and a lot of juice in the bat.”