Dan Straily was caught off guard Sunday afternoon when he was summoned into a quick meeting with A’s manager Bob Melvin after a 6-3 loss to Seattle.
Straily, who has been in the Oakland rotation since a stress fracture in Brett Anderson’s right foot put the opening day starter on the disabled list, was given the word. He was being sent down to Triple-A Sacramento, at least for a short time.
Oakland has a day off Monday, another Thursday and a third next Monday. With all that extra time, the A’s will not need to employ a fifth starter until July 6. So the A’s will bring up a fresh face, although the club said no decision has been made yet on who might get the call.
Since the bullpen will be, theoretically at least, rested with two days off in four days, it’s unlikely to be a reliever. It won’t be a starter, since there’s no need. So it almost certainly will be a position player. The A’s are a little short at catcher and at middle infielder, so the likely choices would be catcher Luke Montz or one of two infielders, either Andy Parrino or Hiro Nakajima.
The A’s aren’t getting much production out of catcher Derek Norris (.188) or part-time shortstop Adam Rosales (.195). Montz is hitting .265 with some power and did an adequate job as third catcher when he was up earlier. And Nakajima, who had a big hot streak to get up to .320 for Sacramento, fell down to the low .270s before rebounding to .279 entering Sunday.
As for Straily, he may be the man who gets the call when the A’s need a fifth starter again, but as both he and manager Bob Melvin said, there are no guarantees.
“There’s nothing promised,’’ Melvin said. “Do we want it to be Dan? Absolutely. But we don’t want him going do there with no sense of urgency.’’
For his part, Straily took the demotion in stride as much as was possible.
“With all these days off, it was either this or be the long man in the bullpen,’’ he said. “I have the confidence I’ll be back. There’s no reason to get down. This isn’t the desired (move).
“But I have to go down and make sure I’m still first on the list. Just like every other time I’ve gone down.’’
–John Jaso enter Sunday’s game as a pinch-hitter after having missed three consecutive starts with a nasty abrasion on the palm of his left hand.
Did he come back too early? Jaso seemed to think he did.
“I took some swings off a tee, and it felt OK,’’ Jaso said. “(But in the game) I took a swing and it still hurt.’’
The A’s are hoping that a day off Monday will leave Jaso good to go Tuesday night against Cincinnati.
Jaso was involved on one of the key plays in the game in the 10th inning when he couldn’t block a pitch in the dirt that had the Mariners’ Mike Zunino struck out. Zunino wound up getting to first base safely on the wild pitch from Grant Balfour and the Mariners went on to win on a three-run homer by Kendrys Morales.
“I rushed the throw a little, and I didn’t have to,’’ Jaso said. “And that cost us there. If I’d slowed down and collected myself, I would have had him.’’
–Melvin likes to use as few players when making a move as possible.
He went against that philosophy in the ninth inning when he used first baseman Nate Freiman to hit for second baseman Eric Sogard with a man on first base and one out.
In the past he would have used Adam Rosales, who could then have come in to play second base for Sogard. Instead, Freiman was used (he flew out) and Rosales came in to play defense, leaving only Chris Young available on the bench.
It turned out to be not a huge deal, but it could have been if the Mariners and A’s had gone past the 10th inning.
Rosales is 0-for-11 with five strikeouts as a pinch-hitter and it may be that Melvin is running out of time waiting for Rosales to contribute in that situation. The shortstop/second baseman is hitting just .195 overall, but take away those 11 at-bats and he’s hitting a marginally more respectable .214