Sean Doolittle is back. Yes, the popular left-handed Athletics reliever returns to the A's after missing spring training and the first 47 games of the season with a slight left shoulder tear. The A's optioned Angel Castro to Triple-A to clear space for Doolittle on the 25-man roster.
Doolittle made five rehabilitation appearances between May 14 and May 24, pitching an inning in each appearance. He struck out five batters and walked none. He gave up three home runs, but two were in his first relief outing, and one was in his most recent.
Tyler Clippard will continue as interim closer as the A's ease Doolittle back into games, manager Bob Melvin told beat reporters before Monday's game against the Detroit Tigers (Jimmy Durkin, BANG). One concern is reports that Doolittle's fastball was not exceeding 90 mph in any of his appearances. Right field bleacher denizen Will MacNeil said on Twitter that Doolittle's fastball hit 93 on the Chuchansi Park gun in Fresno on May 24, but Doolittle himself did not think it was quite that high, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser. Slusser writes that he did throw above 90 on Sunday, however.
Angel Castro was one of the cavalcade of relievers rotated through the bullpen as the A's sought a solution to bullpen meltdowns. Making his major league debut at the age of 32, Castro made four appearances for the A's. In three innings, he struck out three and walked three while allowing six hits, including a home run for his only earned run allowed. He allowed one of two inherited runners to score.