OAKLAND -- Brad Mills’ line from his A’s debut on Friday night might not have been what he was hoping for -- four innings, three runs (two earned), four hits, four walks -- but it sounds like it was enough to earn him another start.
A’s manager Bob Melvin was asked this morning if Mills, acquired last week to replace Drew Pomeranz, will remain in the rotation for at least another turn.
"I would say yeah," Melvin said.
There’s still no timetable on how long Pomeranz will be out with his fractured right hand. Again, since it’s Pomeranz’s non-throwing hand that’s injured, he can maintain his arm strength while the fracture heals, making it a question of when he can catch a ball again.
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Another indication that Mills is in line for another start: He was taking batting practice before today’s game against the Red Sox. If the A’s stay with their regular rotation, his spot would come up again Friday in Miami, a National League park.
There is the possibility, though, of some rotation shuffling before then. The A’s have two days off next week -- Monday and Thursday, on either side of a two-game series against the Mets in New York. Melvin said he’ll know by tomorrow whether the A’s will change up their rotation to potentially get one or two starters extra rest.
Mills slotting into the rotation Friday night gave Jesse Chavez an extra day before taking the mound today against the Red Sox. Here’s the A’s lineup behind Chavez:
And the Red Sox lineup behind right-hander Rubby De La Rosa:
* Melvin said catcher Derek Norris, who took a foul ball off the left forearm Friday night and left the game with a contusion, is doing "a lot better" today and is possibly available off the bench.
First baseman Kyle Blanks, meanwhile, felt some calf tightness during Friday night’s game. Melvin said he wasn’t sure as of this morning about Blanks’ availability off the bench today.
* Melvin was asked again about Sean Doolittle and the left-hander’s remarkable run the last couple of months: He has a 23 1/3-inning scoreless streak and a 50:1 strikeout-walk ratio for the season. One new point Melvin made: He thinks much of Doolittle’s success this year has to do with his having "a functional breaking ball" that he’s using more.
According to the website FanGraphs, Doolittle is throwing his slider on 14 percent of his pitches, compared to 8.8 percent last year. He’s also throwing it slightly harder this year (81.3 mph on average, compared to 80.2 in 2013).
"Before it was more of a slurve, and he was (decelerating) it a little bit, kind of tipping it some," Melvin said. "Now he’s throwing it more like a cutter, where he’s just gripping it a little differently and throwing it more like his fastball, so it’s easier for him."
* De La Rosa has made just four starts for the Red Sox this year but is coming off of his best -- seven scoreless innings against the Minnesota Twins in which he allowed one hit. One thing you do know about De La Rosa -- he throws hard, averaging a mid-90s fastball and mixing in a changeup and slider.