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Can Joey Devine make his long-awaited return to A’s bullpen?

Obviously, the A’s big news today revolves around the additions of designated hitter Hideki Matsui (to be announced tomorrow) and right-hander Brandon McCarthy. In an under-the-radar transaction, the A’s also signed reliever Joey Devine to a $557,500 one-year deal, avoiding arbitration with him. I couldn’t squeeze much about Devine into the main story, but this guy is a potentially big storyline if he can stay healthy after missing the last two seasons recovering from elbow ligament replacement surgery. I talked to Devine today, and he’s feeling encouraged his right elbow will be ready for spring training. It’s guarded optimism on his part, based on the struggles he’s faced in 2009 and 2010. But he pitched in some instructional league games in October and came out of those feeling good physically. He hasn’t thrown since then — Dr. James Andrews, who performed Devine’s surgery, recommended he give his elbow some rest — but Devine expects to resume throwing again in a few days to start preparing for the season.

Anyone who’s followed this team knows not to get too excited about Devine until he’s pitching in spring training games with no setbacks. But a healthy season from him would be a huge boost for Oakland’s bullpen. We’ve seen the A’s linked to free agent relievers this winter, and they could use a little more depth in their middle relief. Devine certainly could help fill that need …

Joe Stiglich

  • jclay09

    Another important question is can Josh Outman return from TJ surgery and get back to the pitcher he was before he went down? He was outpitching Anderson, Cahill, and Gio when he got hurt.