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Elephant Rumblings: Waldichuk finding a home in bullpen?

MLB news roundup

MLB: Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Tuesday, AN!

We got a late Monday update on the pitching plan for the series opener today against the Cleveland Guardians:

This seemingly confirms that Waldichuk is a member of the bullpen for the time being. His last five appearances have all been short relief appearances/openings, with his longest outing during this stretch being the 3-inning save he collected last week against the Rays.

It’s not how he or the team hoped he would perform this season. After being acquired for Frankie Montas at the Trade Deadline last year, Waldichuk was considered among the cream of the crop in the Oakland farm system. He made his debut in the final month of the season and pitched well, showing encouraging signs and demonstrating why the A’s made him the headliner in the trade that brought him here.

The A’s starting rotation picture in spring was pretty open but it was always assumed from Day 1 that Waldichuk had a leg up on a rotation spot. That turned out to be the case as he was among the Opening Day starting five and received the start for the third game of the year.

As encouraging as last year’s cup of coffee was, this season has been the exact opposite. In 10 starts this year, Waldichuk has a 6.89 ERA over just 47 innings. In fact, he’s only had one scoreless starting appearance all season. This isn’t what the team was expecting when they gave him a starting job in camp.

The move to the bullpen doesn’t look much better on paper as he’s sporting a 5.68 ERA down there. That being said, he does at least look better coming out of the bullpen. His best performance this season was that 3-inning save he nailed down.

Tomorrow figures to be another quick inning for Waldichuk before he gives way to Medina, who has also struggled this year. You never know though; if Waldichuk comes out looking good, Mark Kotsay might try to squeeze an extra inning or two out of him. The young left-hander is certain to get another shot at starting for the club down the road but for now, rebuilding his confidence with nice quick bursts out of the bullpen might just be what the doctor ordered for someone the team is expecting big things out of moving forward.

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