Pomeranz likely roster space victim after strong start

Drew Pomeranz gave teh A's a huge lift Wednesday, but they may need his spot on the roster Thursday.

Drew Pomeranz gave teh A’s a huge lift Wednesday, but they may need his spot on the roster Thursday.

There have been a lot of “thanks, but no thanks’’ moments for the A’s of late.

They sent down reliever Dan Otero last week. when he had a 7-1 record and 2.28 ERA when they needed the roster space.

They told first baseman Nate Freiman they were sending him down Wedendsday because they needed roster space.

And the man Freiman was moved for, Drew Pomeranz, could be facing the same fate Thursday.

Pomeranz isn’t at all likely to stay in the starting rotation, and even after 5.1 innings in which he allowed one unearned run and did more than his share in a 5-4 A’s win over the Astros, it will be three or four days before he could pitch again. Because the rosters expand after Monday’s game, Oakland could send him down and have him back on Tuesday.

    With a short bullpen and with a huge series coming up again, look for the A’s to bring up a reliever to take Pomeranz’s spot on the roster.

“I don’t know what’s going on,’’ Pomeranz said good-naturedly. “You probably know more than I do.’’

What the A’s know is that Pomeranz, brought up to start Wednesday so the A’s could back up their top four starters to face their prime American League West competition, got a terrific performance from the lefty. He left the game with a 1-0 lead in the sixth, and the one run that ultimately was put on his ledger was unearned.

“Drew was awesome,’’ shortstop Eric Sogard said. “He did a great job.’’

As the moves with Otero, a quality middle inning reliever who was off the roster just two days, and Freiman, who will himself be back Tuesday, prove, doing a great job isn’t of itself enough in the middle of a pennant race.

Having options that allow a player to be sent down are important, too, and Otero, Freiman and Pomeranz all fit that bill.

Manager Bob Melvin wouldn’t commit to what the A’s will do with Pomeranz. But it’s a good bet he’ll be a long reliever come next Tuesday and an emergency starter if the A’s were to need one.

He had a run of three starts in May in which, after leaving the bullpen with a 1.98 ERA, he threw five innings, gave up three or fewer hits and allowed no runs. Add to that the 5.1 innings in which he had just the one unearned run charged to him, and he’s the kind of ace in the hole any manager wants.

He only had thrown 82 pitches when he was lifted for Ryan Cook, Melvin wanting to turn switch-hitting center fielder Dexter Fowler around by using a right-hander. And Pomeranz was OK with it.

“We’re trying to win a game,’’ he said. “And our bullpen is great.’’

The bullpen had its troubles Wednesday, but that was mostly forgotten after the come-from-behind win.

Pomeranz’s performance won’t be forgotten, but it’s probably not enough to keep him in the big leagues for the next few days.

John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.