Andrew Triggs hails from Nashville, and his parents still live there, which has been extremely convenient this season for the A’s right-hander.
Triggs, a 27-year-old reliever who started in Oakland’s 9-6 loss to the Orioles on Thursday, began the season playing for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. He has been called up by the A’s eight times, believed to be the most stints in one season in Oakland history.
“I gotta imagine I would be up there,” Triggs said.
If a player has a minor-league option entering a season, his team can send him down and call him up limitless times during that season. This year’s A’s have been beset by injuries, particularly to their pitching staff, making it a transient summer for Triggs, even by baseball standards.
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His longest stretch with the A’s was nearly a month, July 4 to Aug. 3, though he was on the disabled list for part of that time. Three of his call-ups were just one day and two have been two days. Last recalled Aug. 5, he made his second major-league start Thursday, allowing three runs in four innings.
This is where having a home in Nashville comes in. When playing for the Sounds, Triggs said, he crashes with his parents. When he’s with the A’s, he stays in a hotel.
“It’s not something I plan on doing in the offseason,” Triggs said. “But right now, when there’s no way to know if you’re going to be in one place or the next from one day to the next, it definitely simplifies things.”
After compiling an 8.00 ERA in his first 10 outings with the A’s, Triggs had a 2.30 ERA over his next nine appearances entering Thursday. Performance, though, does not always dictate whether he stays with the A’s. Because the A’s can send Triggs to the minors without having to designate him for assignment and risk another team claiming him off waivers, they might use his roster spot if they need to bring up another pitcher for a spot-start or bullpen coverage.
Whatever the reason, A’s manager Bob Melvin has called Triggs into his office seven times to demote him. Melvin credited Triggs with making the process easier.
“He is terrific every time,” Melvin said Wednesday. “He’s aware, too, when he goes out on the mound certain times, depending on who we have available, if he’s out there a few innings it’s not a surprise to him after the game that he’s summoned to my office. But he has a great attitude. He’s a great teammate. You can’t help but pull for a guy like that.”
Triggs said he understands how the transactions side of baseball works. He’s with his third organization: Drafted by Kansas City in 2012, he spent last season in the Orioles system before the A’s claimed him off waivers in March. Though Triggs had not appeared in the majors before this season, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter had complimentary words for him this week.
“He’s a smart guy, can sink the ball, has multiple ways to get you out,” Showalter said after Thursday’s game. “He was a good guy in the spring. We just didn’t have room for him. We knew somebody was going to take him.”
Triggs throws a sinker-slider combination with a near-sidearm delivery exaggerated by how he starts from the third-base side of the pitching rubber and appears to fall toward the third-base line before bringing his arm around. He said the motion came naturally.
“I had a pitching coach who once said you pick up a rock as a little kid to throw it and that’s your natural arm slot,” Triggs said. “As long as I’ve been pitching, it’s been out there.”
Triggs held the Orioles scoreless Thursday for three innings before allowing three runs on four consecutive hits in the fourth. After the game, he talked to reporters at his locker, between fellow pitchers Sean Doolittle and Sonny Gray, one of several lockers he’s had at the Coliseum this season. The list of players he has had a locker next to includes Jed Lowrie, Danny Valencia, Sean Manaea, Rich Hill and Josh Reddick. The latter two since have been traded.
“In terms of feel or vibe, it doesn’t really change much from one piece of real estate to the next,” Triggs said. “But it’s definitely given me a more interesting perspective on the season. If you’re looking for neat little silver linings to the season, that’s one of them.”