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Elephant Rumblings: J.B. Wendelken will come off injured list for Wild Card Round

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San Diego Padres v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

The 2020 MLB postseason begins in a few hours! The Oakland A’s are matched up against the Chicago White Sox in the best-of-three first round, and Game 1 is at noon on ESPN.

Rosters will be announced shortly, and the A’s already got one player back from injury at the last minute when super-sub Chad Pinder returned from a strained hamstring on the final day of the regular season — and even chipped in an RBI single.

Now Oakland will welcome back another name that had been questionable, as reliever J.B. Wendelken will be activated in time to participate in the Wild Card Round series, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. The right-hander went on the IL on Thursday for undisclosed reasons, leading to speculation that the issue involved coronavirus in some way. However, all systems appear to be go for him to return to action.

That’s good news for the A’s, as Wendelken is a strong piece of their deep, MLB-best bullpen. He’s not part of the late-inning setup crew, but he can handle high-leverage innings and can also comfortably go multiple frames in a game. In 21 appearances this summer, he has a brilliant 1.80 ERA in 25 innings, with 31 strikeouts, 11 walks, and a 3.07 FIP. He’s been put in two hold situations and converted both of them successfully.

If the 27-year-old gets the chance to pitch in this series, he’ll do so against one of his former teams. He was drafted by the Red Sox in 2012 but traded to the White Sox the next year (alongside Frankie Montas, for Jake Peavy), and then Chicago sent him to Oakland after 2015 for Brett Lawrie.

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