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OAKLAND – Reliever Eric O’Flaherty has spent lots of time around his A’s teammates this season, but his Oakland career begins in earnest now that he’s joined the active roster.
O’Flaherty, who signed a two-year contract in January, was activated from the 60-day disabled list Thursday after spending all season continuing a long rehab from reconstructive elbow surgery. To make room for him on the 25- and 40-man rosters for him, reliever Jeff Francis was designated for assignment.
O’Flaherty is expected to be a key addition to Oakland’s bullpen, especially against left-handed batters. He’s been sidelined since May of last season after having Tommy John surgery. But over the past four seasons, he posted a 1.68 ERA as a setup man for the Atlanta Braves.
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Now O’Flaherty, 29, is ready to really feel like a part of the A’s team.
“It’s huge, man,” O’Flaherty said before Thursday’s series opener against Toronto. “It’s a really, really long road to get back from Tommy John, and there’s some trying times. But it kind of goes by fast if you stay positive and take it day by day.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin said he doesn’t have a clearly defined role yet for O’Flaherty.
“I’d like to get him in some games before we get him pitching in the seventh and eighth inning with two on,”Melvin said. “Having said that, you never know how the game is gonna play out. He’s ready for just about anything. I’m not sure how I’m gonna use him yet.”