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Oakland A's call up J.B. Wendelken from Triple-A Nashville, at least for now

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The Athletics will go to an eight-man bullpen because they do not need a fifth starter for some time.

MLB: Oakland Athletics-Spring Training Media Day
J.B. Wendelken in standard pitcher photo day pose #269.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics called up right-handed reliever J.B. Wendelken to join the club in Houston Friday as they prepare to open a three-game series against the Astros. The A's demoted Eric Surkamp on Thursday after it became clear that staff ace Rich Hill would be able to start in this series after sustaining a minor groin strain last Sunday.

Wendelken was the only healthy reliever on the 40-man roster eligible to be recalled Friday. Left-hander Daniel Coulombe cannot be recalled until Saturday because he was optioned to the minor leagues on May 25, and Friday is the 10th day of the 10-day minimum period that players optioned to the minor leagues must remain there unless replacing a player going on the disabled list.

The A's will probably run with an eight-man bullpen until Sonny Gray is activated from the disabled list, though they could call up the more successful Coulombe on Saturday. Coulombe retired all 11 batters he faced in two appearances in his most recent call up to the majors.

Gray will make a rehab start with the Stockton Ports on Sunday, and is expected to be activated next Friday against the Cincinnati Reds if all goes well. With three off days over eight days, including last Thursday's (yesterday), the A's do not need a fifth starter until June 14.

Wendelken allowed five runs and recorded seven outs against the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox in his first call up in May. Since returning to Nashville, he has struck out 16 and walked six with a 6.23 ERA in nine appearances.