A’s manager Bob Melvin remains undecided whether to use left-hander Drew Pomeranz or right-hander Arnold Leon as the starting pitcher for the second game of his team’s upcoming doubleheader against the Seattle Mariners.
Leon, 25, joined the A’s on Tuesday, and he is slated to be activated Wednesday, when the A’s are permitted to have a 26th man on their roster for the nightcap of the doubleheader.
Leon went 2-1 with a 4.34 ERA in six starts for Sacramento so far this season. Melvin doesn’t need to know Leon’s stats to know what Leon is capable of doing.
“We’ve seen his progression the last two springs,” Melvin said, “and … this spring he looked like he belonged more. He was more confident throwing to big-league hitters.”
Melvin said he told Leon as much at the end of spring training in Arizona. He also told Leon that his time would come.
“I told him … ‘you put yourself in a position to be a viable option for us this year,’ ” Melvin said. “And here he is. Well deserved.”
Leon has yet to pitch in a major-league game. He said he is doing his best to keep his emotions in check on the eve of his potential debut.
After all, he has had plenty of time to dream and wonder about this moment. He started his professional career in 2006, when he played for Saltillo in the Mexican League.
He also has had stops at Stockton, Midland (Texas League) and Sacramento, from rookie league to Triple-A.
“I’ll be trying to calm down today, tomorrow and during the game,” Leon said. “I’m trying not to think about that and I’m just trying to enjoy every moment here.”
Pomeranz has appeared in nine games for the A’s this season, all in relief. He has a 1.98 ERA for his 13 2/3 innings of work.
However, Pomeranz started 30 games, including four last season, during his three seasons with the Colorado Rockies.
Long-term, Melvin said Leon is capable of being a starter or a reliever. Leon worked as a closer in spring training last spring.
— Yoenis Cespedes started Tuesday night, Melvin said, in part because of how well he moved on a fly ball to left field that he ran down for an out.
“I was shocked at how well he came in on that (play),” Melvin said. “It didn’t look like it was bothering him at all. It gave me a good feeling about not only starting him today but able to use him in the outfield.”
— Reliever Eric O’Flaherty had yet another bullpen session Tuesday in his recovery from elbow surgery. He made 30 pitches, Melvin said.
“Real soon, he’ll be throwing to hitters,” Melvin said.
Just when will be revealed by Melvin on Wednesday, he said. Flaherty isn’t eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list until May 29.
— The A’s are the only team in the majors not to use a rookie this season, according to A’s baseball information manager Mike Selleck. The streak is at 32 games. It ends, of course, if Leon plays Wednesday.
The A’s went 34 games without using a rookie during the 1995 season in the last time they went this long without doing so.
— Melvin said that catcher Stephen Vogt is progressing well in his recovery from an oblique injury. Vogt played in five games for Sacramento so far this season.