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Chris Bassitt might return this week

Right-hander has thrown several times since facial surgery

MLB: AUG 12 Athletics at Indians Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Oakland A’s can use all the help they can get during a tight postseason race, and they might get a boost that none of us dared to hope for a month ago.

Pitcher Chris Bassitt threw another bullpen session on Monday, and if all continues to go well then there’s a “good chance he can play in a game sometime this week,” reports Shayna Rubin of the Mercury News.

Bassitt was hit in the head by a line drive in August and required facial surgery, and it was reasonable to assume the horrifying injury would end his season. But three weeks later he was throwing a flat-ground session, and he’s now done three bullpens and a simulated game in front of a live batter.

Amid all that progress, last weekend Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the A’s were targeting Thursday for a potential return by Bassitt. At the time that was still contingent on how his bullpen session went Monday, noted Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle. He threw around 30 pitches Monday and “felt good,” added Rubin. At the moment, James Kaprielian is listed as Oakland’s starter for Thursday.

Throughout the recovery process, Bassitt has remained determined to get back on the mound. He’s talked about how he’s not afraid to pitch again because he doesn’t even remember getting hit by the ball, and hasn’t watched the replay. “I know I’m a little bit of a messed up individual but I don’t have any concern about getting back on the mound,” said Bassitt in August, and he reiterated that confidence last weekend after his sim game.

If he does return, it still remains to be seen whether it would be as a starter or reliever, as well as how many innings he’d be able to work. But regardless of role, if he performs anywhere near the All-Star level he’s established the last couple years, he could do a lot to help an A’s staff that appears worn down after a long summer.

Just five weeks after one of the scariest A’s injuries in years, Bassitt is on the verge of returning to action. Ride the wave indeed.