Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin in August of 2017. (Courtesy Keith Allison/Flickr)

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin in August of 2017. (Courtesy Keith Allison/Flickr)

Oakland Athletics: Josh Lucas set to make first Major League start

OAKLAND — In a bit of a surprise move, the Oakland Athletics have announced that Josh Lucas will start Thursday’s series finale against the Seattle Mariners. Manager Bob Melvin said that Lucas is expected to throw roughly 50 pitches, which would make it a bullpen game.

It will be Lucas’ first Major League start, and it will be his first professional start at any level since 2013. On Friday, he threw 50 pitches in relief of the injured Brett Anderson, allowing one run in 3 2/3 innings and striking out seven. The seven strikeouts tied a career high that he had set in rookie ball in 2011. Lucas was acquired on March 31 from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for minor league pitcher Casey Meisner.

Lucas is one of nine relievers currently on the A’s roster. Bullpen games have become increasingly common lately in baseball, as seen over the past week with the Tampa Bay Rays, who used Sergio Romo to start back-to-back games, pitching a 1-2-3 first inning on Saturday and recording four outs on Sunday, facing six batters and allowing two walks.

Kendall Graveman would have been on turn to make the start, but since it has not yet been 10 days since he was sent down, he cannot be recalled. Graveman is set to start Thursday for Triple-A Nashville.

With Khris Davis being placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the day, Melvin said that the cleanup position — where Davis had hit in every game to start the season — would mainly be split between Matt Chapman and Matt Olson. Olson took the spot on Tuesday, and with Seattle starting left-hander Marco Gonzales, Chapman is slated to bat fourth in Wednesday’s contest.Josh LucasKendall GravemanKhris DavisMLBOakland A'sOakland Athletics

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