The A’s already started tweaking things in anticipation of getting Rich Harden back in the rotation this weekend. Here’s a look at that move and some of the others that could be coming:
— Chad Gaudin to the bullpen: This makes sense more so than sticking Justin Duchscherer back there. For one, the A’s promised Duchscherer a chance to start and would be stuck with an extremely unhappy player if they pulled the plug after four good starts by him. For two, Duchscherer would be be suited for a setup role, and with Santiago Casilla and Andrew Brown already mowing down hitters, the A’s don’t have a need there. Bottom line: This move stinks for Gaudin, but it adds another hard, heavy-sinking thrower to a bullpen already filled with them. The A’s are going to be awfully hard to beat when they lead after six innings.
— Travis Buck’s return: Buck should be ready soon — he’s on a rehab assignment and says his shin splints are better — and that has led to much speculation that either Rajai Davis or Chris Denorfia could be in jeopardy. That’s probably correct, but here’s one thought: Why not keep Buck in the minors? He hasn’t found his stroke yet, and in his season-plus in the bigs, he has yet to prove he can stay on the field. I’d give serious consideration to this, letting Buck know that the move would probably only be a temporary one. Eventually, Jack Cust will cool off and/or Buck will start to rake. But for now, I’m not sure why there’s such a consensus that Buck deserves an outfield spot.
— Keith Foulke’s return: The A’s reliever might be activated tomorrow after throwing two innings in relief at Single-A Stockton. I hope this doesn’t mean a demotion for Joey Devine, who has been pretty much lights out, but it could. Devine could see his innings decrease significantly, and the A’s likely don’t want to see that happen. Ordinarily, it would seem a no-brainer to option Dallas Braden back to Triple-A Sacramento, but his presence does give the A’s two lefties.
Can’t believe I’m saying this, but who’d have thought the A’s bullpen would be an embarassment of riches.