The Oakland Athletics have recalled ambidextrous reliever Pat Venditte and right-handed reliever Dan Otero to their bullpen before Saturday evening's game against the Baltimore Orioles. Aaron Brooks was optioned to Triple-A Nashville and Friday night's spot starter, Brad Mills, was designated for assignment.
Mills tossed five innings and allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out one, and walking one. There are now 38 players counting against the 40-man roster limit. Brooks was pressed into bullpen duty in the 13th inning of Friday night's game and his second pitch allowed Manny Machado's walk off home run against Baltimore.
Venditte's return follows what was effectively a lengthy rehabilitation assignment, though he was officially optioned to Triple-A on August 3. Since July 23, Venditte has thrown 11⅔ innings, striking out 12, walking two, and hitting one batter while allowing three home runs between High-A and Triple-A. Two of those home runs allowed occurred in his first three rehab appearances with the Stockton Ports.
Dan Otero made three more appearances in Triple-A Nashville, allowing just three hits while striking out five and one walk in six scoreless innings. Otero has a 5.79 ERA in the majors this season.
Aaron Brooks had been scheduled to start Monday, but Sonny Gray may be available after he came out of a throwing session fine on Friday. Jesse Chavez could go on Tuesday, so the A's need a fifth starter no later than Wednesday. Felix Doubront could actually be a candidate to join the rotation after throwing just shy of 100 pitches last Wednesday against Toronto.
In possibly related news, Barry Zito is no longer listed as Saturday's scheduled starter for the Nashville Sounds, with Sean Nolin making his first start off of his latest visit to the minor league disabled list instead. Nolin probably won't go many innings in what would be a rehab start if he was on the major league roster, so Zito might appear later in that game. The decision to start Nolin instead of Zito was apparently made before Oakland's 13-inning affair in Baltimore, based on Nolin being listed as Saturday's starter in Nashville's Friday game notes.
Friday night, the A's found themselves desperately needing bullpen help after a two-run ninth inning against All-Star closer Zach Britton sent the game to extra innings, snapping Britton's consecutive saves streak at 24. The A's had only five relievers available as they had demoted Arnold Leon to allow Brad Mills to start, and Felix Doubront was unavailable after throwing nearly 100 pitches on Wednesday. The A's used Monday's scheduled starter, Aaron Brooks, in the bottom of the 13th inning, though he allowed the game-winning home run after just two pitches.
In terms of the bullpen, keep in mind that the A's intend to activate Sean Doolittle for the next homestand, if all goes according to plan. Dan Otero or Pat Venditte could be candidates to return to Triple-A, in that case.