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Elephant Rumblings: Adam Oller vies for a rotation spot

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MLB: Spring Training-Oakland Athletics at Chicago Cubs
Mar 23, 2022; Mesa, Arizona, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher Adam Oller (36) throws in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs during spring training at Sloan Park.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, Athletics Nation!

To say that the A’s rotation is in flux right now is quite an understatement. Chris Bassitt has already been traded to the Mets. Rumors abound that Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas could follow. James Kaprielian is likely to miss most of April due to shoulder irritation.

All of this uncertainty puts righty prospect Adam Oller squarely in the mix to begin the season as an A’s starter. Yesterday, Adam spoke with Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle about his strong Spring Training debut and his outlook on the possibilities that lie ahead.

Oller, who came to the A’s via the Bassitt trade earlier this month, impressed for two innings in his first showcase for the A’s on Wednesday. His fastball sat in the mid-90s and he struck out four of the eight batters he faced. Three of those K victims went down swinging.

Oller said that his heart rate was also in the mid-90s as the team arrived at the ballpark before the game: “It was like 95” beats per minute, Oller said. “I was like, ‘I’m just sitting down. This isn’t good.’”

The nerves were understandable. Oller was making his first-ever start with a major league club before a crowd of 8,779 fans, including his father.

“I got the first out and was like, ‘OK, we’re here, we’re good, everything is fine, just go ... but the nerves warming up … that’s hands-down probably the most people I’ve ever thrown in front of. So it was awesome.”

Oller struck out 138 batters in 120 innings in AA and AAA last year, though he said he was not “fastball-dominant” during his time in the Mets organization. Check out Kawahara’s story for more details on the A’s plans for his fastball, what else he feels he needs to work on, and comments from manager Mark Kotsay on where he stands in the spring competition.

Athletics Nation congratulates Adam on his promising debut! Let’s see what he can do in his next outing, hopefully feeling a bit more settled in and confident.

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