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Oakland A’s recall Ryan Dull, option Ryan Buchter to Triple-A

The A’s swap out relievers named Ryan.

Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s recalled reliever Ryan Dull from Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday, the team announced. To make room on the roster, fellow reliever Ryan Buchter was optioned down to Triple-A.

This will be Dull’s second stint in the majors this year. The 29-year-old pitched in the season opener in Japan, but had a rough outing against the Mariners in which he allowed three runs in less than an inning. He faced five batters and recorded just two outs, giving up a walk, a double to Ryon Healy, and a homer to Tim Beckham along the way. On the bright side, he’s been lights-out in six games for Las Vegas since then:

Dull, 2019 AAA: 0.00 ERA, 9⅔ ip, 14 Ks, 2 BB, 0 HR, 5 hits, 1.50 FIP

The right-hander has been excellent throughout the minors over the last several years, but he’s struggled to find that same consistency in the bigs. He’s pitched for Oakland in each of the last five seasons, back to 2015, and has ranged from being a top-notch setup man in ‘16 to posting a 5.14 ERA in ‘17.

Dull, MLB career: 3.78 ERA, 159⅓ ip, 156 Ks, 45 BB, 25 HR, 4.15 FIP

The need for a bullpen reinforcement is clear after the weekend series against the Blue Jays. Thanks to short outings by Aaron Brooks (5 ip) and Mike Fiers (3⅓ ip), followed up by Brett Anderson spraining his ankle in the 3rd inning Sunday, the relievers contributed 15 innings during the three-game sweep — plus another frame by first baseman Kendrys Morales.

On top of the group’s heavy workload, setup man Lou Trivino is likely unavailable on Monday after jamming his thumb during practice on Sunday, reports Ben Ross of NBCS. And on top of that, Chris Bassitt will start on Monday against the Rangers for his first MLB appearance of the year — after beginning the year briefly on the injured list, he threw 72 pitches in his final minors rehab start a week ago. Stocking a fresh arm in the pen arm is prudent at this particular moment.

To make room for Dull, the odd man out is Buchter. He was the only left-hander in the pen, meaning the eight-man unit is all righties now. After an excellent season last summer, highlighted by a 2.75 ERA in 54 games, he’s struggled mightily to begin 2019. He’s already blown two holds in four tries and been tagged with a loss in another game, albeit one of the blown leads was a near-impossible situation with the bases loaded, no out, and only a one-run cushion. Still, his overall numbers are not up to his usual standards after three straight strong campaigns:

Buchter, 2019: 7.04 ERA, 7⅔ ip, 12 Ks, 7 BB, 1 HR, 12 hits, 4.79 FIP

We last saw the 32-year-old on Sunday, in relief of Anderson. He allowed a leadoff single in the 5th, then made an errant pickoff throw that squirted into the Coliseum’s expansive foul ground. The runner made it all the way to third, and then a sac fly scored him, in a game the A’s eventually lost by one run.

The A’s bullpen now includes the following eight names, including the days they pitched against Toronto:

  • Treinen (Su)
  • Trivino (none but hurt)
  • Soria (Fr, Su)
  • Wendelken (Sa, Su)
  • Rodney (Fr, Sa)
  • Petit (Fr, Su)
  • Hendriks (Sa, Su)
  • Dull (last pitched Thursday)