The Oakland A’s shook up their bullpen on Friday, after watching seven relievers combine for 12⅔ innings in Wednesday’s extra-inning victory over the White Sox. Chris Bassitt and Josh Lucas are joining the MLB club and lefty Danny Coulombe is heading back to Triple-A Nashville, the team announced. They’d previously announced Thursday that Lou Trivino was also being optioned to Triple-A, after an excellent debut series against Chicago.
We recently talked about Bassitt as a possible candidate for the rotation. He was a starter for Oakland before going down with Tommy John surgery in 2016, and two years later he’s finally returning to the bigs. He’s been impressive in three games for Nashville this month, serving as a long reliever in tandem with fellow swingman Frankie Montas.
Bassitt, 2018 AAA: 0.69 ERA, 13 ip, 12 Ks, 4 BB, 0 HR
The addition of the 29-year-old Bassitt gives the A’s a true long man for the first time this year, which is especially useful while the durable Yusmeiro Petit is out tending to a family matter. Their lack of a long man was apparent on Wednesday, causing several relievers to go well beyond their normal workload and helping necessitate Friday’s flurry of reactive moves. It all worked out OK in that 14-inning game, but it’s not a situation a team wants to find itself in often if avoidable. Friday starter Kendall Graveman is yet to go past five innings in a game this year and is set to face baseball’s best offense in the Boston Red Sox.
We’ll also get our first look at Lucas, who was acquired at the end of March in a minor trade. The 27-year-old right-hander briefly debuted last summer for the Cardinals, and upon his acquisition he cracked our Community Prospect List — he now stands at No. 24 in the system. He works with a sinker (93 mph) and a slider and has generally thrown strikes throughout the minors, though so far this year he’s walked 4-of-16 batters faced for Nashville.
Lucas, 2017 AAA: 3.15 ERA, 60 ip, 68 Ks, 12 BB, 3 HR, 2.85 FIP
Lucas, 2017 MLB: 3.68 ERA, 7⅓ ip, 7 Ks, 4 BB, 2 HR, 6.84 FIP
Lucas threw multiple innings in 14 of his 52 outings last year, and twice went three full frames. He’s not a former starter like Bassitt, but he’s yet another reliever in Oakland’s pen capable of going more than three outs in a pinch.
As for the odd men out, Trivino made his MLB debut Tuesday night and then was pressed into emergency duty Wednesday afternoon. He performed well on both occasions, but presumably needs some rest after working overtime. Like Lucas he’s a member of our CPL (No. 23), and after a strong first impression we will surely see him back up here sooner than later. Meanwhile, Coulombe threw 38 pitches in a mostly ineffective performance on Wednesday and has generally struggled this year, but as the second lefty on the depth chart you’d have to figure he’ll be back at some point too.
Trivino, 2018 MLB: 0.00 ERA, 4 ip, 6 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HR, 0.89 FIP
Coulombe, 2018 MLB: 5.79 ERA, 9⅓ ip, 7 Ks, 5 BB, 2 HR, 6.03 FIP
Finally, Petit is expected to return to the team on Saturday, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. That means there will ultimately be one spot left for the quartet of hurlers in this post (Bassitt, Lucas, Trivino, Coulombe), until/unless someone else is injured or cut.
Here’s the updated roster entering Friday’s opener against Boston:
Sean Manaea (L)
Daniel Mengden (R)
Trevor Cahill (R)
Andrew Triggs (R)
Kendall Graveman (R)
Blake Treinen (R)
Ryan Buchter (L)
Ryan Dull (R)
Emilio Pagan (R)
Chris Hatcher (R)
Santiago Casilla (R)
Chris Bassitt (R)
Josh Lucas (R)
Jonathan Lucroy (R)
Bruce Maxwell (L)
Matt Olson (L)
Jed Lowrie (S)
Marcus Semien (R)
Matt Chapman (R)
Chad Pinder (R)
Khris Davis (R)
Stephen Piscotty (R)
Matt Joyce (L)
Mark Canha (R)
Jake Smolinski (R)
10-day DL: RHP Liam Hendriks (groin), C Josh Phegley (fingers), OF Boog Powell (knee)
60-day DL: RHP Jharel Cotton (TJS), RHP Paul Blackburn (forearm strain)
3-7 day Family medical: RHP Yusmeiro Petit