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A’s bolster burnt out bullpen, recall Bassitt, Lucas

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Baltimore Orioles vs Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Chris Bassitt (40) throws a pitch in the sixth inning as the Baltimore Orioles face the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, August 4, 2015.

After 103 weeks, Chris Bassitt‘s long road to recovery from Tommy John surgery has brought him all the way back to Oakland.

Two days after needing 12-2/3 innings of work from their bullpen, the Athletics (9-10) made a pair of moves to reinforce the overworked relief corps. Along with Bassitt, right-handed reliever Josh Lucas was called up from Triple-A Nashville, while Danny Coulombe joined Lou Trivino, who was optioned Thursday, back with the Sounds.

Manage Bob Melvin said prior to Friday’s game against the Boston Red Sox:

“We’ve had to make a couple moves, based on the way our bullpen was used. … So we have some reinforcements here.”

Melvin was noncommittal about his role, but Bassitt, who has been used as a starter in 23 of his 29 career big league games, will be in the bullpen with both long relief and late-inning relief serving as options.

Bassitt was part of Oakland’s Opening Day rotation in 2016, but after a pair of solid outings in starts two and three, he was hit hard in numbers four and five before being shut down for TJ surgery. He appeared in 24 games, nine as a starter, between High-A Stockton and Triple-A Nashville last year finishing with 50 hits and 30 runs allowed in 50-2/3 innings (5.33 ERA)

Said Melvin:

“That’s a lonely rehab. Then, you’re coming back, you’re wondering how things are going to go, you’re certainly very aware of how your arm feels. But he worked very hard during that process. … It looks like he’s pitching as well as he’s pitched since he’s come off Tommy John.”

In three appearances, each as a reliever, Bassitt has allowed nine hits and two runs (one earned) in 13 innings (0.69 ERA) with the Sounds. He has struck out 12 and walked four.

Lucas, who was acquired by the A’s via trade with the St. Louis Cardinals in March, was brought to Oakland along with Bassitt. In 4-2/3 innings, the side-armer had not allowed a hit or run, despite walking four, over four games with the Sounds. Melvin has never seen his new reliever throw first-hand, but said his reports are encouraging:

“I haven’t personally seen him but once he became available, our guys really liked him, had an eye on him for a while now. Talking to the guys in development, he’s done a pretty good job.”

Lucas, a 6-foot-6 185-pounder from Lakeland, Florida, made his major league debut with the Cardinals last season, appearing in five games. He allowed seven hits and three runs in 7-1/3 innings (3.68 ERA) of work, walking four and striking out seven.

Melvin got further good news on the veteran hurler front. According to the Oakland skipper, Yusmeiro Petit (family medical emergency list) is expected to return to the club in time for Saturday’s game. And Brett Anderson, added via free agency in late-March, continues to be successful in his minor league assignment. Melvin said the 30-year-old nine-year major league veteran was stretched out to 77 pitches in his latest outing, working five innings and striking out eight.

So far this season, Anderson has held the opposition to 12 hits and two earned runs (seven unearned) while walking just two and striking out 20 in 13 frames (1.38 ERA). There is no timetable for his big league arrival, but Melvin said his performance is creating the call-up option:

“Reports are that he threw the ball really well. … That’s getting awfully close to potentially being here if the need is there for him. We’ll just see where it goes.”


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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