Sean Doolittle

Sean Doolittle finally returns to the mound for A’s

Sean Doolittle activated from DL!

Update: May 28, 2015 7:15 am PT

Sean Doolittle pitched a scoreless sixth inning on Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers. He allowed a hit and recorded two strikeouts in his first outing for the A’s this season.

Doolittle threw 14 pitches: two curve balls, two change-ups and nine fastballs. What was slightly concerning was that the left-hander’s fastball only hit 89 mph. Prior to his rotator cuff injury his fastball would hit the mid-90’s.

However, he only began seeing game action on May 14 and is still just beginning to get his strength back, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser.

His pitches all appeared to still have good movement and command, so there isn’t anything to worry about just yet.  If his strength hasn’t returned in a few weeks then there may need to be cause for concern.

Original Text: May 26, 2015 5:00 pm PT

The A’s activated left-hander Sean Doolittle from the disabled list the club announced on Tuesday.

Although Doolittle was the closer almost all of last season, he will not be assuming the closer role right away according to the team’s manager Bob Melvin. Melvin told reporters on Monday that Doolittle will make a handful of non-save appearances before being re-instated as the closer.

The A’s got All-Star set-up man Tyler Clippard over the off-season from the Washington Nationals and he has been primarily the closer in Doolittle’s absence.

Doolittle suffered a partial tear of his rotator cuff in January and has missed the first 47 games of the season. His presence in the bullpen should help the A’s immensely.

The team’s bullpen has been struggling all year, but getting back into a routine and having the players back in their normal roles will hopefully help.

“Just having his presence down there, what he can offer to us, whether it’s earlier in the game against some lefties — an issue we’ve had a little bit –- it’ll be nice,” Melvin said.

Doolittle was an All-Star in 2014. He appeared in 60 games for the Athletics, posting a 2.73 ERA and converting 22 out of 26 save opportunities. He had a fantastic strikeout to walk ratio of 11.13, averaging 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings and finished the season with a grand total of 89 strikeouts in 62.2 innings pitched. The A’s are, and should be, excited to have the 28-year-old left-hander back.

In a corresponding move, 32-year-old right hander Angel Castro was optioned back to Triple-A Nashville.

Jesse Hahn pitches first complete game shutout

A’s starter Jesse Hahn is in his first full big league season. He was acquired as part of a trade with the San Diego Padres over the off-season. He made 14 appearances for the Padres in 2014. Now he’s made nine starts for the Athletics.

On Monday, the 25-year-old pitched the first complete game shutout of his career against the Detroit Tigers leading the A’s to their third straight victory by the score of 4-0.  Hahn currently has an ERA of 3.69 in nine starts and 53.2 innings pitched.

Sean Doolittle
Jesse Hahn. Getty Images.

The A’s scored all four runs in the sixth inning off of Tigers’ starter Shane Greene. Billy Butler, Max Muncy, Sam Fuld and Mark Canha each contributed an RBI in the inning.  The win marked the first time this season that the team had won three straight games.

This could mean that perhaps the A’s are starting to turn around what has been an abysmal season. The club’s record currently sits at 17-30.

However, there still may be time to turn things around since they are getting a couple of important players back off the disabled list and starters like Hahn are going deeper into games. 

The A’s still need to work on their fielding though. They added three more errors, two by Muncy and the other by Marcus Semien, to their major league leading total of 49. 

To hopefully fix this problem the A’s have hired former A’s coach and Texas Rangers’ manager Ron Washington as a special infield instructor. Only time will tell but the A’s will be going for their fourth straight victory Tuesday night at home against the Tigers.

Ben Zobrist returns to the A’s lineup Tuesday

The return of super-utility man Ben Zobrist should definitely help the Athletics as much as Doolittle’s return. Zobrist was activated from the disabled list on Monday but was not in the A’s lineup against the Tigers. He is in the line-up Tuesday batting third and playing second base.

Zobrist was placed on the DL on April 25th with a medial meniscus tear. He underwent surgery on April 28th and rehabbed with the Single-A Stockton Ports and the Triple-A Nashville Sounds.

Overall in his five rehab games, Zobrist batted .313 with three RBI and two walks.  With Zobrist, who can play just about every position on the field, the A’s demoted outfielder Craig Gentry to Triple-A Nashville.

Gentry started the season with the team but was 0-35 at the plate. He was optioned to Nashville after that, and re-called on May 17. He appeared in just one game for the A’s going 0-3 in Houston against the Astros last week. Overall he is hitting .079 in 17 games with the A’s in 2015.

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