The Athletics will call up right-handed pitcher Chris Bassitt from Triple-A Nashville for Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Angels, according to the Bay Area News Group's John Hickey. The report was confirmed by CSN California's Joe Stiglich. Right-handed pitcher Arnold Leon was optioned to Triple-A after Wednesday's game, manager Bob Melvin told beat writers (Jane Lee tweet).
Bassitt will replace Leon as the long reliever while Jesse Chavez starts Thursday's game in place of Jesse Hahn, who is allowing a blister on his right middle finger to heal. Chris Bassitt was scheduled to be Friday's starter for the Nashville Sounds. He has so far made three appearances, pitching 16 innings with a 3.36 ERA. He struggled greatly facing left-handed hitters during spring training, but so far in Triple-A lefties are batting just .211/.268/.316 against him in 42 plate appearances.
Arnold Leon was on turn to start for the Nashville Sounds on Wednesday but instead pitched the ninth inning for the A's in the club's 9-2 victory over the Angels. Leon gave up one run on two hits and a walk while striking out one in his major league debut. He also got defending American League Most Valuable Player Mike Trout to fly out to center field.
If you're wondering about Barry Zito, there's four things. First, Barry Zito started on Monday, so his availability as a long reliever is compromised. Second, Barry Zito is not on the 40-man roster, so calling him up would mean designating another player for assignment and possibly losing that player, an expensive proposition just to call up a long reliever. Third, Barry Zito's goal has always been to return as a starter, and the A's are happy to accommodate that wish; he won't be called up as a reliever. Fourth, Barry Zito just hasn't been that good in his three Triple-A appearances. He has a 7.71 ERA over 14 innings, has walked six batters and struck out 12.
What should be interesting in the days ahead is how long Chris Bassitt stays up with Oakland, and whether Ryan Cook or even Pat Venditte finds their way into Oakland's bullpen once the situation with Jesse Hahn's blister resets.