PHOENIX –- The A’s are still in no rush to throw Sean Doolittle back in the closer’s role, and they can afford to be patient based on the way Drew Pomeranz handled the ninth inning Saturday.
The converted starter needed just 11 pitches to strike out the side to nail down a 3-2 victory. Pomeranz threw all fastballs, hitting 95 miles per hour several teams, and overpowered Diamondbacks hitters.
“Last night he pitched like Doolittle,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “All fastballs, able to elevate. Good life on it.”
Pomeranz said his arm was fresh Saturday after going four days between outings. Given how quickly he got through his one inning Saturday, it’s a good bet Melvin runs him out for the ninth again if the A’s are holding a narrow lead.
Doolittle, recently activated from the disabled list following a shoulder injury that sidelined him most of the season, isn’t yet commanding the strike zone like he did in last year’s All-Star campaign. But he’s had just two outings so far, and it’s not too surprising that he has yet to regain his form.
Melvin was asked if he’s looking to get Doolittle some “soft landing” outings, low-pressure situations where he can continue to work out the kinks.
“I don’t know about a softer landing spot, it just won’t be the closer role yet,” he said. “Potentially I was going to bring him in in the eighth for (David) Peralta yesterday.”
Melvin also liked what he saw from reliever Fernando Rodriguez, who threw two scoreless innings to set up Pomeranz for the ninth.
Brett Lawrie originally was in Sunday’s lineup at second base but was scratched with back tightness. It’s an issue Lawrie occasionally has dealt with this season,but it has yet to sideline him for any extended time. Melvin is hopeful Lawrie can return for Monday’s homestand opener against the Angels,who will start a lefty in Hector Santiago.