The Oakland A’s claimed left-handed reliever Richard Lovelady off waivers from the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. To make space for him on the 40-man roster, the A’s transferred Freddy Tarnok to the 60-day injured list with a right shoulder strain.
Lovelady spent the first 7 years of his professional baseball career coming up in the Kansas City Royals system after getting drafted in the 10th round of the 2016 draft. At every level of the minor leagues, the southpaw put up strong numbers utilizing mostly a slider-fastball-sinker combo.
AAA, career: 115.2 innings, 2.65 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 32 saves
The Royals gave him two extended runs out of their major-league bullpen in 2019 and 2021 (as well as one inning in the shortened 2020 season). Though he struggled in 2019, he had a solid run in 2021.
MLB, 2021: 20.2 innings, 3.48 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 10.0 K/9, 2.6 BB/9
Unfortunately, Lovelady couldn’t finish the season and underwent Tommy John surgery on September 30, 2021, leading the Royals to non-tender him and re-sign him on a minor league deal in the offseason. He was able to make a late-season cameo, throwing 4 scoreless innings in AAA with a whopping 9 strikeouts and just 1 walk. Still believing in his talent, the Royals re-added him to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft before trading him to the Atlanta Braves for cash.
With the Braves, he had 4 outings, the most recent of which resulted in 3 earned runs in just 0.2 innings. It’s unclear what move prompted the team to designate Lovelady for assignment, but he’ll now have a chance to continue his journey back to majors with the Oakland A’s. He’ll start out at AAA waiting for a major league bullpen spot to open up.
To make room for Lovelady, the A’s transferred Freddy Tarnok to the 60-day IL. Originally, the A’s had placed the right-handed starter on the 15-day IL on March 30 with a shoulder strain on his throwing arm. It seems the issue is now considered serious enough that he’ll be out until at least early June.