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Oakland A’s place Daniel Mengden on DL, call up Chris Bassitt

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The disabled list claims yet another starter.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s placed starting pitcher Daniel Mengden on the 10-day disabled list, the team announced Wednesday. The move is retroactive to Sunday. To replace him, Chris Bassitt was called back up from Triple-A Nashville, and he’ll start the evening’s game in Detroit.

The diagnosis for Mengden is a sprained right foot, which forced him out of his last start after two rocky innings. It’s the same foot he fractured in 2017, but this injury is unrelated and in a different part of the foot. There’s no structural damage this time, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle, but also no timetable for his return. In her full writeup, Slusser notes that the injury is preventing him from pushing off during his delivery.

It’s been an inconsistent season for Mengden. The right-hander got roughed up a few times in April, then was effectively the staff ace in May during a lights-out month, but then followed up with a disastrous June and now a trip to the DL. On the bright side, his 16 starts and 90+ innings are both MLB career-highs for the 25-year-old as he settles into his first full season of big league action.

Mengden, 2018: 4.47 ERA, 90⅔ ip, 55 Ks, 19 BB, 15 HR, 4.73 FIP

Note: Nine of those homers have come in just his four June starts.

For the A’s, this is yet another in a long line of starting pitchers landing on the DL. There are already five others on the shelf (Cotton, Cahill, Anderson, Triggs, Gossett), plus three more out of action in Triple-A (Graveman, Puk, Holmes) and another who missed two months before returning to Oakland (Blackburn). Technically Mengden is the seventh starter to hit the DL, but really he’s the 10th arm from the depth chart to be lost (and ninth currently still out).

To replace him, the A’s brought back Bassitt. The tall righty made his last start on June 22 in the second game of a doubleheader, and now he returns for his next turn on normal rest. He’s made three starts for Oakland this season, one good and two bad, in his long-awaited return from 2016 Tommy John surgery. The 29-year-old still has a lot to prove but he’s definitely a viable rotation option who is worth a longer tryout.

Bassitt, 2018: 3.86 ERA, 16⅓ ip, 13 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HR, 3.22 FIP

Rotation depth has been a question mark for the A’s all season, but they’ve managed to hold on so far through their barrage of injuries. Fortunately, a couple of the banged-up starters are making progress in their recoveries. Slusser reports that Trevor Cahill is throwing again, and Brett Anderson is set for his second minor league rehab appearance this week. Anderson threw four scoreless innings in Triple-A on Saturday.

Until one of them returns, though, this is just about the end of the line in terms of depth with no more starters on the 40-man roster. If someone else gets hurt before Anderson returns then they’ll either need to call on a non-roster Triple-A prospect (like James Naile), grab someone else off the scrap heap (like they did with Edwin Jackson), or make a trade. And yet, through it all, the A’s still stand four games over .500 at 42-38, with an overall rotation that ranks as below-average but not terrible (in the neighborhood of 20th out of 30 teams).

Here’s the updated roster:

Oakland A's 25-man roster
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Sean Manaea (L)
Paul Blackburn (R)
Frankie Montas (R)
Edwin Jackson (R)
Chris Bassitt (R)

Relievers

Blake Treinen (R)
Lou Trivino (R)
Yusmerio Petit (R)
Ryan Buchter (L)
Emilio Pagan (R)
Chris Hatcher (R)
Santiago Casilla (R)
Josh Lucas (R)
Catchers

Jonathan Lucroy (R)
Josh Phegley (R)

Infielders

Matt Olson (L)
Jed Lowrie (S)
Marcus Semien (R)
Franklin Barreto (R)

Outfielders

Khris Davis (R)
Stephen Piscotty (R)
Dustin Fowler (L)
Matt Joyce (L)
Mark Canha (R)
Chad Pinder (R)

10-day DL: RHP Daniel Mengden (foot), RHP Trevor Cahill (Achilles), RHP Daniel Gossett (elbow), RHP Andrew Triggs (triceps), LHP Brett Anderson (shoulder), 3B Matt Chapman (hand)

60-day DL: RHP Jharel Cotton (TJS), OF Boog Powell (knee)