Closer Sean Doolittle could return to the A’s on their upcoming homestand that begins Monday, but manager Bob Melvin said he wants give the lefty a couple of outings in non-save situations to start out.
Doolittle threw a scoreless inning Friday night for Triple-A Nashville and needed just nine pitches to do it. Melvin stressed to reporters Saturday that Doolittle very much remains the A’s closer, but he’d like to ease the reliever back in with some lower pressure situations.
[REWIND: Sogard getting job done without fanfare]
Doolittle continues to progress from a slightly torn rotator cuff in his shoulder. But as he works to regain his arm strength, his fastball isn’t popping the glove like normal yet. He reportedly hovered around the 90 mile-per-hour range in Friday’s outing, and Melvin said that Doolittle might have to approach things a bit differently until his velocity returns.
That likely means mixing in the slider and changeup more for a pitcher who typically relies heavily on his fastball.