Ryan Cook came into the game on Thursday in the 7th inning after Doolittle had worked the 6th, and gave up nothing. In a fun twist, it was a rehab appearance with the Class A Stockton Ports and the Doolittle was Ryan Doolittle, Sean’s younger brother.
According to A’s beat writers, Cook is set to return to Oakland on Saturday. After playing 30 innings in the last 2 days, one would assume that the A’s bullpen would be in dire need of a fresh arm, but that isn’t the case. The addition of Cook will only solidify the bullpen.
With Cook being added, someone already in the ‘pen has to leave. While some would argue that it should be Jim Johnson that should be headed out, he isn’t going anywhere. Neither are Dan Otero, Luke Gregerson or Sean Doolittle. There are 3 candidates that could be on the move.
LHP Fernando Abad, who has been filthy to start the season, changing speeds and keeping hitters off-balance. He holds a 0.375 WHIP, 0.00 ERA and a K/9 rate of 13.5 through 2.2 IP. He has impressed the Oakland faithful this season. He was acquired from the Washington Nationals this offseason.
LHP Drew Pomeranz, who is also a long-relief option. He had dazzling K/9 numbers this spring at a clip of 14.2. In 2 innings this season, he hasn’t allowed a run, his WHIP is at 1.00, and his K rate is 4.5. Pomeranz was acquired in the Brett Anderson deal with the Colorado Rockies in December.
RHP Evan Scribner, the MVP of the division-clinching game in 2012. Scribner is out of options, which could work in his favor. It’s hard to get a read on Scribs, having only pitched one-third of an inning.
Based on the limited use of Scribner this season, and the effectiveness of the two lefties thus far, it is probable that Oakland will take its chances with Scribner on the waiver wire. If he is the odd-man out, that would leave the Athletics with 3 LHP in their bullpen: Doolittle, Abad and Pomeranz. With all of the tough left-handed batters in the AL West, and the front-loaded divisional schedule, having 3 lefties in the bullpen is a wise idea.
The addition of Cook will bring balance to the A’s bullpen, and give them another option late in games. Don’t forget, Cook saved 14 games in 2012 before Grant Balfour officially claimed the closer role. Having a little competition could elevate the play of Jim Johnson, as it did in Balfour.