OAKLAND -– Sean Nolin will be the next young starter to get an audition with the A’s.
The left-hander was promoted Friday from Triple-A Nashville, and he’ll start Sunday against the Mariners, manager Bob Melvin announced.
It’s obvious the A’s are trying to get a head start on evaluating their stable of young arms looking ahead to next season. Nolin is one pitcher they actually thought might figure prominently in the 2015 plans.
Acquired from Toronto as part of the Josh Donaldson deal, the 25-year-old Nolin was expected to compete for a rotation spot before he was sidelined early in spring training with complications stemming from a sports hernia surgery last winter.
“He was a big part of the trade we made,” Melvin said. “In spring training we didn't get to see him other than throw some bullpens. It will be nice to get a first-hand look at him and get him out on the mound against, obviously, a tough opponent offensively. We’ll see what he has to offer.”
[STIGLICH: A's call up LHP Sean Nolin from Triple-A]
Nolin will follow in the footsteps of Aaron Brooks and Cody Martin as recent A’s call-ups to get a look in a starting role. Brooks goes Friday night against Seattle. Martin was sent back to Nashville after struggling against the Angels on Tuesday night.
The 6-foot-4 Nolin ranked 10th on Baseball America’ midseason list of top A’s prospects. He doesn’t light up the radar gun, instead relying on a mix of pitches and location. Aside from the hernia issue, a strained shoulder sidelined him for a good portion of this summer, but he returned healthy enough to make four starts for Nashville in August.
He went 0-1 with a 2.63 ERA in those four outings, but it’s notable that his longest outing in that stretch was just 4 2/3 innings and the most pitches he threw was 76. With a stocked bullpen thanks to the roster expansion, expect the A’s to monitor Nolin’s workload closely Sunday.
Nolin had yet to arrive at the Coliseum during the media’s clubhouse access, but recently promoted outfielder Jason Pridie said Nolin impressed at Triple-A after coming back from his shoulder setback.
“His last two or three starts he was doing well,” Pridie said. “I remember seeing that life on the ball. I was impressed.”
Nolin debuted with the Blue Jays in 2013 but has logged just two major league appearances. He started against Baltimore in that 2013 debut, lasting just 1 1/3 innings and allowing six runs.
Nolin essentially is taking the rotation turn of Chris Bassitt, who has yet to start throwing after experiencing shoulder soreness.
Stephen Vogt, originally slated to play first base Friday, was a late scratch due to a sore right elbow. Mark Canha shifted from left field to first and Tyler Ladendorf was inserted into left field.
Including Friday’s series opener against the Mariners, Brett Lawrie will have made 16 of his past 19 starts at second base. With Danny Valencia serving as the primary third baseman since joining the team in early August, Lawrie has played a solid second base, a position he also saw time at while with Toronto.
“Certainly could,” Melvin responded, when asked if this is serving as an audition for Lawrie as a full-time second baseman next season.
Left fielder Coco Crisp is battling soreness in his troublesome neck, though Melvin said he is available off the bench Friday. Fellow outfielder Sam Fuld is still on the shelf with back spasms.