OAKLAND – Brett Anderson is getting a sampling of all that bullpen life has to offer.
Two of his relief outings have come in mop-up duty with the A’s winning by a large margin. Sandwiched in between was a high-pressure 1 1/3-inning stint against Texas, when he entered in the seventh and was charged with protecting a 4-2 lead.
“It’s tough for him, he’s the one guy who really doesn’t know what his role is,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said before Thursday’s series opener against Houston. “He knows that if the opportunity comes up like (Wednesday) and we can stretch him out a little bit, we’ll do that. I’ve also showed that he could be a factor for us late in games for an inning. It makes it difficult for him to prepare, but it is what it is. He’s a guy that might pitch in any particular role.”
The numbers aren’t real pretty so far. Over three relief outings since coming off the disabled list, Anderson has allowed 10 hits and five runs in 7 1/3 innings. Given the situations, however, those numbers are misleading.
Anderson gave up three runs against Detroit in a game the A’s led 10-1 when he entered. Against Texas on Wednesday, he came in with Oakland leading 9-2 and gave up two runs in three innings, including a home run to Geovany Soto.
But Melvin says Anderson’s stuff has been sharp in all three outings, as his seven strikeouts (with just one walk) would suggest.
“Maybe the numbers don’t look as good as what his stuff actually is right now,” Melvin said. “Every time we’ve run him out there it looks good whether he’s in a long role or short role.”
The A’s still have it in mind to stretch Anderson out for a potential return to the rotation. But with the five current starters throwing well over the last three weeks, the team can entertain the option of keeping the lefty in the bullpen for use in a variety of ways.
Right fielder Josh Reddick (sprained right wrist) will start taking batting practice on the field either this weekend or once the team gets to Minnesota for a three-game series that starts Tuesday. That’s also the first day he’s eligible to come off the disabled list, but Reddick needs to test his wrist in regular batting practice before rejoining the team.