The A's went into the season with two key players on the disabled list: reliever Ryan Cook, and fourth outfielder Craig Gentry. They were both supposed to return quickly, and now one of them has.
Cook had been aiming to return on Saturday when he was eligible, so he's only two days behind schedule and he ended up missing only six games. That's a small price to pay for ensuring that you start a 162-game season at 100% health. He had been out with shoulder inflammation, which isn't something you should ignore as a pitcher.
The roster victim was fellow right-handed reliever Evan Scribner, which comes as quite a shock since everyone thought he was out of options. Even Susan Slusser was fooled:
"We'd all been under the impression that Scribner was out of options, because he'd been up and down each of the past three seasons and he has enough pro service time that he wouldn't qualify for a fourth option - but as it turns out, he never spent long enough in any one stretch at Sacramento in 2012 to use an option that season."
The only other viable option for demotion was Drew Pomeranz, and I have to say that I still would have preferred to send him down. Sean Doolittle and Fernando Abad satisfy the left-handed side of the bullpen, so the A's don't need Pom as a southpaw. And he should really be preparing to start games right now since he is a big part of the rotation depth that Oakland will surely need to call on at some point this summer. I don't understand why he's up here pitching in relief when the team has Scribner and Joe Savery available to fill in the back of the pen. If Pomeranz is the long-man, then that's even worse, because the long-man often sits around for two weeks at a time and waits for a chance to pitch. Pom needs to be pitching as regularly as possible right now so that he can work toward realizing his high upside, because I don't want to think that Beane dumped Brett Anderson for a back-end reliever.
Oakland's bullpen for today's game (* = pitched yesterday):
Since I mentioned Gentry at the beginning, let's wrap up with a note about him. Jane Lee brings us an update on his status:
"Outfielder Craig Gentry (back) will make two more rehab starts with Triple-A Sacramento this week before being activated off the disabled list. The plan is for him to join the A's in Seattle on Friday."
Try not to think about the roster debates that will occur when Gentry comes back. It'll be between Fuld and Barton for who will be sent down. One way or the other, things are going to get tragic around here.