OAKLAND –- Newly acquired reliever Edward Mujica joined the A’s on Monday, but he shouldn’t need much of a scouting report on his first opponent.
Mujica was designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox on Thursday and then traded to Oakland on Saturday for a player to be named or cash considerations. It just so happens the Red Sox and A’s begin a three-game series Monday night.
“When I got the news on Saturday, I knew they were gonna be here. I said ‘Wow, that’s gonna be crazy,’” Mujica said.
Mujica, 31, posted a 4.61 ERA with Boston this season and allowed three homers in 13 2/3 innings. But he was coming off back-to-back scoreless outings when he got word from the Sox on Wednesday that they were removing him from their 40-man roster.
He said the move caught him by surprise, but he’s happy he’s landed in Oakland, where any reliever showing the ability to retire big league hitters is getting a shot these days. Manager Bob Melvin told Mujica, who was an All-Star in 2013 with St. Louis, to be ready for any situation.
“We talked to our bullpen guys on the road,” Melvin said. “They just have to be ready.”
Coco Crisp is hitting second in Monday’s lineup with Billy Burns leading off. It’s Crisp’s first start in the No. 2 spot since 2012, when he started 24 games there with Jemile Weeks occupying the leadoff spot for Oakland early in the season. Crisp is 0-for-15 since coming off the disabled list Wednesday.
“Just to change it up for him a little bit,” Melvin said. “Billy is used to leading off. I talked to Coco a little bit about it today. He’s fine.”
Second baseman Ben Zobrist, rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, hit in the cage Monday and he could take batting practice with the team in the next couple of days. Zobrist said he would test the knee by running in a straight line soon, but he said lateral movement drills are not on tap yet. Moving side to side will be the biggest test for his knee before he’s ready to rejoin the team.
Right-hander Chris Bassitt, who made five appearances out of the bullpen, was optioned to Triple-A Nashville to clear a roster spot for Mujica. Bassitt will pitch as a starter for Nashville. The A’s want him to get stretched out in case he’s needed in that role.
“He needs to pitch a little more regularly, and in a starting role, certainly he needs to throw strikes,” Melvin said. “He knows that. You look at the numbers overall, he didn’t give up too many hits, but he walked too many guys.”