The writing was on the wall after his latest struggles, but A’s manager Mark Kotsay confirmed that the team is moving Shintaro Fujinami to the bullpen. He will be available to pitch in relief as soon as Tuesday.
Shintaro Fujinami will move to the A’s bullpen and be available to pitch in relief tomorrow, per Mark Kotsay.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) April 24, 2023
While the A’s pitching staff has struggled as a whole, Fujinami’s struggles have been paramount. Oakland set up their rotation to allow him to pitch every Saturday, but he hasn’t been able to give them any quality or length. The numbers are eye popping as he has allowed 19 hits and 24 runs in just 15 innings. He has been charged with eight runs in two of his four starts while failing to escape the third inning.
Kotsay said that the team is planning to use him in a leverage role and are hoping that it helps him rediscover his fastball command.
Kotsay: “We’re going to put him in the pen and try to use him in a leverage role where we could watch him throw strikes and get his fastball command back. Not to say he can’t return back into the rotation, but in the short term, we’re going to assess him in that direction.”— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) April 24, 2023
Oakland’s rotation now consists of Kyle Muller, Mason Miller, Ken Waldichuk and JP Sears. James Kaprielian made an appearance out of the bullpen over the weekend, but could return to starting if needed. Drew Rucinski is progressing on his rehab assignment and could also be nearing a return.