The Oakland A's activated starting pitcher Rich Hill from the disabled list on Saturday. The move was expected all week, especially after Hill's successful rehab outing in Stockton on Wednesday, and he will start on Saturday against the Pirates. To make room on the 25-man roster, reliever Andrew Triggs was optioned to Triple-A.
Hill had been sidelined by a groin injury since leaving his start on May 29. When healthy, he's been the team's best pitcher by far as well as one of the better starters in the entire league. Through 11 starts, he owns a 2.25 ERA, and in 64 innings he's racked up 74 strikeouts (28% of batters faced) and 24 walks (3.08 K/BB). His 2.5 bWAR ranks tied for 11th among AL pitchers despite the fact that he's missed a full third of the season so far. It seems highly likely that he'll be the A's All-Star representative, though there is an outside chance for a couple of their power hitters as a lone rep depending on roster fit. With the A's sitting 10 games under .500, it's also almost certain that they will choose to deal the 36-year-old at the trade deadline.
Triggs' fourth stint in Oakland this year lasted all of two games. He recorded eight outs on Thursday in the series finale against the Giants, after Dillon Overton got shelled and needed long relief help. Triggs wasn't charged with a run in that game but he did allow an inherited runner to score on Overton's record. He returned the next day to toss a scoreless 9th against the Pirates. The 3⅔ frames lowered his season ERA to 6.20, though it's worth noting that he's struck out a batter per inning (and three per walk) and has often been asked to sacrifice his own stats for the sake of getting the team through some long blowout games. He was the extra eighth arm in the pen, so even without him the A's have the full allotment of seven relievers.
To make room for Hill in the rotation, the A's had already optioned Overton back to Triple-A on Friday. In his first two MLB starts, Overton often showed good control, but his low-velocity arsenal got shelled to the tune of five home runs. In his defense, though, the homers were hit by Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Buster Posey, Kole Calhoun, and Brandon Crawford -- that's three former MVPs (who are all probably locks for the HOF) and two more quality hitters. At least he wasn't getting smashed by the Johnny Giavotella-types of the world.
We will most likely see plenty of both Overton and Triggs later on this season, whether roster space opens up because of further injuries or trade departures or both.
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