The Oakland Athletics have demoted Eric Surkamp to the Nashville Sounds and called up reliever Andrew Triggs, the club has announced. The A's will need a starting pitcher on Friday, which could either be a recall of Jesse Hahn or the initial call up of top pitching prospect Sean Manaea. Until then, the A's don't need Surkamp on the roster, and will keep an eighth reliever.
While Surkamp was serviceable through Oakland's first three starts, a lack of command ran Surkamp's pitch counts high. He failed to escape the fifth inning in three of his four starts, and did not finish the sixth in the other. After allowing six runs in 4 2/3 innings to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, his ERA stands at 5.59.
Andrew Triggs was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles on waivers during spring training and will be making his major league debut. While his 5.14 ERA with Nashville isn't pretty, that's only through seven innings and six appearances. He's struck out nine batters and walked three for Nashville, while giving up no home runs, giving him a FIP of 3.29. Three of the four runs he's been charged with came on a single appearance on April 14 where he allowed four of the six hits he's conceded this year.
Friday's starter: Jesse Hahn or Sean Manaea
Jesse Hahn is the most likely choice to be recalled, if only because he's already on the 40-man roster and has generally pitched well over his four starts. Of course, those were the same reasons that made some of us wonder why he wasn't called up to start on Sunday in Toronto in the first place, even if it was only going to be for 75 pitches as he was on three days rest.
The main issue with Hahn seems to be the number of walks he still has been allowing. In spring, he allowed seven in 15 1/3 innings while striking out just 11 on his way to an 11.15 ERA. While the ERA in Nashville is much improved (2.04), he has still walked nine batters in 17 2/3 innings.
The alternative to Hahn would be to call up top pitching prospect Sean Manaea, who has a 1.50 ERA in his three starts and has a 21:4 K:BB ratio in 18 innings. Over at his Beaneball blog, Jason Wojciechowski outlines why Manaea might be a good fit for a call up, at least until Henderson Alvarez finishes his rehabilitation from shoulder surgery. Manaea didn't quite rack up huge strikeout numbers in his last start, but he was also pitching in Colorado Springs and only gave up one run in six innings anyway.
On Twitter, the beat writers appear to believe that Hahn will be called up on Friday. For instance:
@BobbyCristo I don't see where any team bypasses a guy who had a 3.35 era in the bigs last year for a pitcher with one mo. at AAA.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) April 25, 2016
Perhaps we'll learn more after the clubhouse opens at 12:30 PM Pacific Time or at Bob Melvin's 2:10 PM press gaggle.
Update 2:15 PM: Manager Bob Melvin at the afternoon press gaggle:
Melvin says no decision yet on fifth starter but says it's the obvious list of suspects.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) April 25, 2016
(That means really just two possibilities: Hahn or Manaea.)— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) April 25, 2016