Chris Bassitt already has been called up to Oakland on three occasions this season, each time for a brief stint before returning to Triple A. This time, though, Bassitt probably can expect a longer stay.
Bassitt joined the A’s in San Francisco ahead of Friday’s opener against the Giants and is expected to start Saturday, taking the rotation spot of Jesse Hahn (forearm strain). Bassitt has not been officially recalled yet, but manager Bob Melvin said the plan is for Bassitt to remain with the A’s and become a regular member of the rotation.
In three spot starts for the A’s this season, the right-hander has allowed five runs in 17 innings but lost a pair of 2-1 decisions. Most importantly, he has issued just two walks after displaying poor command while pitching out of the bullpen during his first call-up in late April.
Hahn is not expected to begin throwing for at least another three weeks. Melvin said the current call-up is a “chance for (Bassitt) to get settled” into a regular starting routine at the major-league level.
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“It’ll be nice for him to settle in,” Melvin said. “He’s done everything he can to give himself an opportunity to pitch every fifth day. And at this point in time, it looks like he’s going to be here for a while.”
The A’s did make one roster move before Friday’s game, recalling reliever Angel Castro from Triple A and optioning Arnold Leon back to Nashville. It was a quick turnaround for Leon, who was called up after the A’s traded Scott Kazmir on Thursday, pitched 3 1/3 innings of relief in Oakland’s loss to Toronto and is now headed back to Nashville. That’s life for a reliever who still has options.
The A’s lineup against the Giants on Friday night includes Billy Butler at first base. Butler has primarily been a DH this season, but the A’s obviously don’t have the DH during this series at AT&T Park, and Melvin said he wanted to get Butler in the lineup Friday because of his numbers against Giants starter Jake Peavy. Butler is 15 for 36 lifetime against Peavy (.417) with three home runs and nine RBIs.
The A’s lineup:
▪ Melvin said he talked with Coco Crisp earlier Friday and that the outfielder, who is rehabbing from a neck injury, is open to going on a rehab assignment as soon as he’s healthy enough to play games. Melvin didn’t say when that could start, but, “We’ll probably map something out here in the next day or two.”
“He feels great,” Melvin said of Crisp, who has been on the DL since May 20. “When Coco turns a corner it’s usually pretty quickly. … I know he’s eager to get out and start playing some games.”
Reliever Pat Venditte threw an inning for High-A Stockton on Thursday, using only his right arm. Melvin said Venditte “felt good” and will throw another inning for Stockton using only his left arm on Saturday . The A’s want to make sure Venditte builds stamina from both sides.
Sean Doolittle, meanwhile, is expected to throw pitches off flat ground on Saturday. Melvin said that after one or two of those sessions, Doolittle could throw off a bullpen mound, and he expects that to happen before the end of the month.
▪ The trade of Kazmir on Thursday was widely seen as the A’s shifting their focus from this season to the years ahead, and general manager Billy Beane acknowledged that it’s “possible” there will be more moves in the coming week before the trade deadline. Asked what he expects over the next week, Melvin said he’s “not really sure.”
“This is the first time since I’ve been here that we’ve been in this position,” Melvin said. “We’re at least a seller right now. But it shouldn’t affect how we go about our business. We can’t worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next day.
“It was tough to see Scotty go – I know everybody felt it a little bit yesterday. I think that naturally to an extent, sometimes guys think about what shoe’s going to drop next. But once we go between the lines, it’s our job to (focus on the game).”