The Oakland Athletics announced two roster moves ahead of Wednesday's contest against the Seattle Mariners. The club activated second baseman Jed Lowrie from the 15-day disabled list and called up right-handed starting pitcher Zach Neal to make Wednesday's start. The A's optioned corner infielder-outfielder Max Muncy and left-handed reliever Daniel Coulombe to Triple-A Nashville.
Lowrie returns, Muncy out
Lowrie returns from a severely bruised shin to try to breathe some offense into a club that's been forced to go to the farm system a little too often to fill in the end of the lineup. The shin was so badly hurt on a foul tip that Lowrie changed brands of shin guards, tweets the Bay Area News Group's John Hickey. He went 1-for-4 with a walk on a rehab assignment for Nashville against Las Vegas.
Max Muncy did not get a lot of playing time, though he did make the most of his appearances. He went 2-for-5 with a walk in two games against the Yankees.
The main thing Lowrie's return does is that it enables Chris Coghlan to vacate second base and give the outfielders a rest. Coco Crisp has started 10 consecutive games (one at DH), for example, because of injuries to Mark Canha and Josh Reddick. We may also see Chris Coghlan platoon somewhat with Jake Smolinski in right field.
The A's now have 12 players on the disabled list, which is still the most since at least 1979.
Neal starts, Coulombe to Nashville
As expected, the A's called up Zach Neal to take what would have been Sonny Gray's turn in the rotation. For the next few weeks, the club only needs a fifth starter on May 25, May 31, and June 14 thanks to numerous upcoming off days. Whether Gray returns by June 14 or Henderson Alvarez is available by that point is still to be determined.
Neal pitched three innings to finish out one of Oakland's awful games in Boston, and he allowed three runs and one home run. In Nashville this year, Neal owns a 2.53 ERA in seven starts, with 21 strikeouts and four walks.
The A's took advantage of Daniel Coulombe's impending return to Nashville on Tuesday by having him go five-up-and-five-down against the Mariners in relief of Kendall Graveman, and has now retired his last 11 batters faced. His major league ERA stands at 4.76, though all of his runs came against the Red Sox on May 10. Coulombe will certainly be on the short list of call ups should the A's need bullpen help again.