De Los Santos shapes up as key man in A’s bullpen

Three days until the A’s first full-squad workout. Here’s the morning update …

The bullpen holds some mystery for the A’s this spring, but manager Bob Melvin expects right-hander Fautino De Los Santos to play a key role one way or another. De Los Santos went 3-2 with a 4.32 ERA in 34 games as a rookie last season, notching 43 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings.

“This is a big year for him,” Melvin said. “We’re not targeting him (for a specific role yet) … But now there’s a little bit more of target on him in that we expect big things out of him.” De Los Santos primarily needs to continue developing his slider to complement a high-90s fastball, Melvin said. But De Los Santos also must cut down walks and hold runners better.

Another reliever in camp, lefty Jordan Norberto, could also land a spot in the bullpen. He was acquired last season from Arizona in the Brad Ziegler trade but struggled with his command. Norberto worked as a starter in the Dominican Winter League this past offseason but has primarily been a reliever since 2008. Melvin mentioned the possibility of experimenting with Norberto as a starter in the minors if he doesn’t make the big league club out of camp.

–As for the A’s rotation, it’s shaping up to be right-handed heavy no matter who the five starters are. If Dallas Braden were to begin the season on the disabled list, Tom Milone is the only left-handed starting candidate currently in camp. Melvin doesn’t see it as a big issue. He said the five best pitchers will land in the rotation, and if it’s five right-handers, so be it …

–Melvin likes what he sees so far from Sean Doolittle, the injury-riddled first baseman trying to make a comeback as a pitcher. Doolittle was a stellar pitcher/first baseman for the University of Virginia but the A’s converted him to a full-time position player upon drafting him. Melvin said he’s particularly impressed with how still Doolittle keeps his head through his delivery, which should help his command. “For a guy who hasn’t pitched a whole lot, that impressed me,” Melvin said.

Joe Stiglich

  • Stan

    Caught part of your appearance on Comcast Joe.
    In hearing the rest of the media on Manny asking “Whats the downside?” Whats the downside? HE’S FREAKING MANNY THE CHEAT RAMIREZ AT 40!..what message does this org send to fans? Oh,clean cut Geo who WANTED to play for the A’s wasnt part of Slicks “system”?..LOL..no,the team that invented steroid cheating naturally is blind to Ramirez. Another downside? Did anybody tell Beane MANNY will miss the first 50 GAMES!?..So,we can look forward to Ramirez getting his stroke down around the first of August? LOL..amazing.
    And-what was that Wolff and Beane fellow saying about “a plan for the future”..with Manny???
    If stupidity is what Wolff wants-give Billy a 25 year extension..because he sure ain’t getting smarter.

  • Stan

    And..lets look at facts. Ben Sheets,Justin Ducsherer,Harden,and many more, all the broken down players Beane said he could make overcome what Doctors had told him were congenital and or permanent injuries..money flushed down Beane’s heated toilet..then trade Geo(shaking head)..well,you can fill in the names.

  • Stan… can you explain how the facts are “look at all these pitchers?”. I mean there are plenty of hitters you could’ve chosen yet didn’t (Piazza, Garciaparra, Matsui, Giambi’s second go). But there is no downside to Ramirez. He costs next to nothing. If he does nothing they release him. MiLB contract. Your argument contained no merit, though that tends to be true of most arguments with an unnecessary amount of caps usage and multiple exclamation or question marks.

  • Stan

    If he does nothing-THEN he’s taken a roster spot of one of Beane’s “prospects” to get a full season in. I mean it stinks of hypocracy to trade young all stars while saying you need to rebuild-then sign a 40 year old has been who wasnt doing much before he was suspended.
    I take it you havent noticed Beane’s record and moves the last seven years?..and quite a few smelly moves before he tanked the team as part Owner?
    The reasoning for Ramirez is specious. Sign Bonds while your at it.

  • Stan – You are an idiot. Learn baseball transaction rules then comment.

  • Stan

    Your the one revealed as moronic David Wishinsky. Wish for a brain.

    BTW,On Comcast -the power of sheep media- Even though the hot blond pronounced Cespedes name correctly,Korzimar and Slusser ignored her and stuck to their dogs barking pronunciation.

    ooH,And those ten “prospects” the A’s got to stock the minors ? So what?!..you have ten people to play isn’t the same as having given three All Stars who produce NOW!..not maybe in the future like the ten,or as Beane has shown lately,not at all.
    Whether Beane plays for now or the future..he screws up both methods. Look at the standings. You cant deny that.