With a tip of the hat to attentive Susan Slusser Twitter follower Sal Ferraro, it appears Oakland Athletics ambidextrous reliever Pat Venditte has been optioned to the Nashville Sounds after completing his five-game rehabilitation assignment. Says the Omaha World-Herald, "Venditte ... said he was informed of Oakland's decision before Sunday's game. He wasn't surprised by the move, saying he felt he probably needed to prove to the Athletics that his strained right shoulder was fully healthy."
Venditte is a native of Omaha and was playing against the Omaha Storm Chasers over the weekend with the Sounds, the first time he has played in Omaha since playing for Creighton. In five rehab appearances with the Stockton Ports and Nashville Sounds, Venditte struck out six and walked none while hitting one batter and allowing two solo home runs over 5⅔ innings.
Slusser, who was the first of the Oakland beat reporters to alert Twitter to Venditte remaining with Nashville, offers her thoughts on why Venditte will stay in Triple-A for now:
Venditte being optioned could be just the simplest move if the #Athletics are looking at waiver claim deals in the next day or two.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 3, 2015
Aaron Brooks' outstanding debut pushed Doubront into the bullpen, too, which probably factors in Venditte being optioned.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 3, 2015
I would have to think the Venditte move is short term. He's performed better than just about anyone else in #Athletics bullpen.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 3, 2015
The waiver moves I could see that would allow Venditte to return would be if the A's are going to try to move Edward Mujica on a waiver-wire deal to open up a space in the bullpen and avoid releasing the recently acquired Felix Doubront or the struggling Evan Scribner.
Other waiver wire moves to acquire position players, like perhaps acquiring Danny Valencia, shouldn't affect the bullpen unless they bring the 40-man roster over 40 players. If Coco Crisp is added to the roster today, there would be 38 players counting against the 40 player limit.
The only players in Oakland's current bullpen who had options remaining are Dan Otero and Drew Pomeranz. Otero performed extremely well when he was optioned to Nashville for a month's time spanning June and July, so I imagine the A's are going to give Otero every opportunity to return to the shutdown pitch-to-contact pitcher he had been in previous seasons.
Pomeranz is Oakland's top left-handed pitcher in the bullpen, though Fernando Abad has made strides. Abad has a 0.92 ERA in his last 19⅔ innings and has stranded all 10 of his inherited runners in that span.