OAKLAND — Cleaning out a locker isn’t generally something done with a smile on one’s face, but that’s what Oakland Athletics reliever Ryan Buchter did on Sunday morning before the A’s matinee against his former team: the Kansas City Royals.
Oakland’s top left-hander out of the bullpen, who went on the disabled list on April 26 with a strained shoulder, is finally heading out to his rehab assignment after throwing 20 pitches to batters in Stockton on Saturday in a non-game scenario.
Before he went down, Buchter had a 1.69 ERA in 10 2/3 innings, struck out 11 and walked four with a 3.46 FIP. He will start his rehab in Stockton on Monday, and will eventually make it out to Nashville to pitch for the Triple-A Sounds.
On Sunday, the A’s sent down Chris Bassitt a day after he threw a gem against the Royals, allowing three hits in seven innings and taking the hard-luck 2-0 loss in his first Major League appearance since undergoing Tommy John Surgery.
“He pitched really well,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve been getting really good outings from guys, that we really didn’t expect at this point in time. We’ve had a lot of injuries, and I’ve said often that it’s an opportunity for somebody else, and he took advantage of that opportunity yesterday, for sure.”
Bassitt could be back soon, given the Achilles discomfort Trevor Cahill felt on Saturday, that forced him to miss a start, allowing Bassitt to take the mound.
“He’s a little better today. We’re still holding out hope,” Melvin said of Cahill (1-2, 2.77 ERA). “It’s certainly easy, if we have to, DL him and pitch Bassitt in that spot the next time around, but we’re still holding out hope that he’ll be able to make it. Whether or not, I’m not sure yet.”
The companion move to Bassitt being sent down was to bring up Jake Smolinski, who is supposed to be at the ballpark at gametime.
Smolinski made the A’s Opening Day roster and hit .118 with two RBI in 16 games with the club before he was optioned to Nashville on May 16.
While down in Triple-A, he hit .260 with seven home runs and 12 RBI in 21 games, adding 11 walks for a .360 on-base percentage. His seven homers were tied for third most in the Pacific Coast League since he joined Nashville on May 17.
Over the last nine games, Smolinski, 29, is hitting .355 with five home runs and eight RBIs.
“He’s the kind of guy, when you get consistent at-bats, you’ve got a much better chance,” Melvin said. “The trick always, here, is trying to stay ready, especially for younger guys. Typically, you’ll see younger guys on the bench now, for any number of reasons, and it’s an acquired taste to be a guy that doesn’t play every day.”
The A’s gave Jed Lowrie the day off at second base on Sunday. While manager Bob Melvin portrayed the day as just a normal day off, it’s hard to think there’s not some performance component.
Since hitting .426 over the first 20 games of the season, Lowrie has hit .240 over the last 44, and .188 in his last eight, with 11 strikeouts to just three walks, and only three extra-base hits.
Chad Pinder, who has hit .236 in 41 games, starts in his place.
Andrew Triggs threw 30 pitches in a bullpen on Sunday. He’ll go out on a rehab assignment “pretty soon,” Melvin said.
“I don’t know if it’s another bullpen or two or not, but I’ll have that after the game,” Melvin said.
Kendall Graveman “may be out for some time,” Melvin said. The A’s Opening Day starter is still rehabbing a right forearm strain in Arizona after landing on the disabled list a week ago.
After a disastrous stint with Oakland early in the season, going 1-5 with a 7.60 ERA, Graveman had found a groove at Triple-A Nashville. He’d thrown at least six innings in each of his last three starts, allowing six runs in 18 1/3 innings (2.94 ERA) before the injury.andrew triggsJake SmolinskiJed LowrieKendall GravemanMLBOakland A'sOakland Athleticsryan buchtertrevor cahill