The Oakland Athletics announced that left-handed pitcher Eric O'Flaherty was activated from the 60-day disabled list ahead of this evening's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. To make room for his activation on both the 25- and 40-man rosters, left-handed pitcher Jeff Francis was designated for assignment.
The Athletics signed O'Flaherty, 29 to a two-year $7 million contract last offseason, with $1.5 million being paid this year, and $5.5 million next year. He may earn an additional $3.5 million in 2015 for roster and performance bonuses. O'Flaherty is returning from Tommy John surgery. In 8 appearances for the Sacramento River Cats, O'Flaherty walked three and struck out 5, allowing 4 earned runs in 8⅓ innings. O'Flaherty's career numbers for the Seattle Mariners and Atlanta Braves are a 2.85 ERA over 8 seasons, a K/9 of 6.9, and a BB/9 of 3.1.
Jeff Francis, 33, arrived in Oakland on May 18 on a waiver claim from the Cincinnati Reds, demoting left-hander Joe Savery in the process. Making infrequent appearances in mop-up roles, Francis entered in relief in nine games for Oakland, striking out 10, walking three, and allowing nine earned runs in 13⅓ innings for a 6.08 ERA. As a veteran player with more than five years service time he can refuse assignment to the minor leagues and instead insist on his release, even if he clears outright waivers.
Opinion: Why not Jim Johnson today?
For the moment, it seems Johnson was saved both by his right-handedness and his performance in extra innings last Saturday against the Miami Marlins, when he tossed 2⅓ innings. He may now be the new mop-up man until Drew Pomeranz returns from the disabled list, giving the A's the choice to move Pomeranz or Brad Mills into the long relief role.