Sean Doolittle is ready to rejoin the Oakland A’s this weekend, and the A’s beleaguered bullpen will welcome him with pitching arms extended. The A’s, last place in the American League West, are a team with several faults, but the most glaring might just be the season-long woes from its bullpen.
The left-handed Doolittle, the team’s returning closer from last season, never made it out of spring training, and his injury was the start of the bullpen’s demise from strength to weakness.
A strained left rotator cuff was Doolittle’s initial injury, and caused him to miss the season’s first seven weeks. He joined the big league team for just three days before landing on the Disabled List again with a left shoulder strain.
After a couple of weeks on rehabilitation assignment with the A’s Triple-A Nashville affiliate, Doolittle is now ready to come back this weekend. In his last appearance on Thursday, he pitched one scoreless inning, striking out all three batters he faced.
Doolittle won’t just step into the closer role, but it shouldn’t take long to establish himself as the go-to arm in the bullpen. A’s relievers have had a tough season since the opening week, and it’s actually getting worse and worse. Over the last 20 games, the A’s relievers have a 6.32 ERA. The bullpen’s season-long ERA of 4.53 is the worst in all of the American League.
Doolittle, 28, appeared in 61 games last season, pitching 62.2 innings and striking out 89 batters, earning 22 saves and recording a 2.73 ERA. In three seasons in the major leagues, he has a career ERA of 2.95, with 211 strikeouts in 180 total innings.
Davis out for season
While Doolittle is poised to make a return this weekend, the club announced that first baseman Ike Davis will be lost for the rest of the season, the result of a torn labrum in his left hip. Davis is scheduled to undergo surgery on Thursday, and he’s expected to make a full recovery ahead of spring training. Whether the club will bring back the 28-year old former first-round draft pick of the New York Mets is still left to be determined.
Davis struggled through an injury-plagued season, missing time in spring training and then landing on the DL for most of May and June. In 74 games, Davis hit just .299, with three home runs and 20 RBIs.
Photo Credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images
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