OAKLAND — The Oakland Athletics continue to fortify their backstop corps as catcher Nick Hundley caught a bullpen session today for the first time since landing on the injured list with back spasms. The 11-year veteran, who also had a minor knee cleanup during his month-long stint on the IL, estimates that he is about ten days out from rehab assignment.
Tanner Anderson will be counted on to go deep into the afternoon after the A’s exhausted their bullpen last night over six innings in a 4-3 defeat over 12 frames to the Twins. The right-hander is coming off of a severe cold but manager Bob Melvin said that Anderson is “good to go.”
Utilityman Chad Pinder is available off the bench despite twisting his ankle during warm-ups before Wednesday’s game. Pinder was unlikely to start the game, regardless of his condition, considering he rarely starts against right-handers, but his presence on the bench gives the A’s some sorely needed length after a quick turnaround from yesterday’s marathon loss.
After Franklin Barreto started the first two games of the series, Jurickson Profar gets the start at second against Twins ace and All-Star Jose Berrios. Melvin said that Barreto’s performance last night–0-for-5 with three strikeouts–did not factor into the decision and that Profar was scheduled to start all along. He maintains that Barreto will continue to see consistent at-bats and explained what he has seen from the middle infielder in his most recent slump.
“For him,” Melvin said, “it’s just getting a good ball to hit and I think when you really want to get here and get off to a good start and impress, maybe you go out of the zone a little bit and try to be a little too aggressive and I think that may be the case with him.”
Melvin admitted that last night’s circumstances–tied 3-3 in the top of the 12th inning–were not ideal for closer Blake Treinen to make his return from a 12-day stretch on the injured list and that he will look for a more low-stakes situation to allow the All-Star reliever to get everything back in sync.
In the midst of Oakland’s backend bullpen instability–with Treinen and Lou Trivino both struggling to recapture their 2018 form–Liam Hendriks has stepped up for the A’s, winning the American League Reliever of the Month award in June for his assumption of the closer role toward the end of the month.