Monday was a good day to be Sean Doolittle.
The left-handed A’s reliever came in having been pain-free for three days in the wake of suffering a right calf strain Tuesday. Then he went on the mound and threw as if he’d never missed any time at all.
He showed good velocity, if not pin-point command.
If you were in Safeco Field on April 21, 2012, you may have thought, as Philip Humber did, that he had it all going.
Humber, then starting for the White Sox, threw a perfect game against Seattle in his second start of the season
“I thought, `Is this really happening?’ ’’ Humber said. “Then I thought I can continue to dominate in this league.’’
The A’s became very comfortable knowing that Grant Balfour was their closer the last few years.
Their comfort level figures to be as good or better this time around, even with Balfour gone.
Jim Johnson, who has saved 50 games in each of the last two seasons for the Orioles, is the A’s new closer. He was in Oakland Friday in preparation for Saturday’s FanFest at the Coliseum and Arena, and he said he’s excited that spring training starts next weekend.
“Once the Super Bowl is over, it’s time to go,’’ Johnson said. “I’m looking forward to this opportunity.’’
Bob Melvin ended the 2013 season with a bullpen he believed was the best he’d ever had at his disposal.
The relievers A’s manager Melvin called on last season went 24-18 with a 3.22 earned run average. The bullpen was the backbone of a second consecutive American League West title. The relievers won or saved 70 of the A’s 96 wins.
Now with spring training’s start drawing close, the manager says the Oakland bullpen for 2014 could be his best ever.