UPDATE (Friday at 10:05am) -- The A's on Friday selected left-handed pitcher Eric Surkamp from Triple-A to start Friday night's game in Seattle, as expected.
To clear space on the 25-man roster, the A's optioned outfielder Andrew Lambo to Triple-A. To clear space on the 40-man roster, the A's transferred right-handed pitcher R.J. Alvarez to the 60-day disabled list.
OAKLAND -– The A’s will call up left-hander Eric Surkamp to start Friday at Seattle and not Jesse Hahn, who appeared the early front runner for the assignment.
Surkamp will need to be added to the 40-man roster, but he will join the A’s on Thursday and accompany the team to Seattle after the series finale against the White Sox.
It’s a nice opportunity for the 28-year-old Surkamp, who’s done well for himself since beginning spring training as a long shot to enter the A’s big league picture. He is 4-3 with a 6.47 career ERA in 43 career major league appearances (seven starts), and signed a minor league deal with Oakland in the offseason.
Surkamp went 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in six appearances (two starts) this spring, but he really opened eyes Saturday in the exhibition finale against the Giants, blanking his former team over seven innings after Felix Doubront left with an elbow injury.
“It had a little bit to do with his last game against the Giants,” Melvin said with a smile. “We had some options but certainly with the way he pitched, we’ll try to ride that confidence into his next start. … He’s got some deception, kind of a long arm swing. It looks like he gets hitter off balance a little bit.”
Doubront could potentially be facing elbow surgery, depending on the outcome of his second opinion Monday with Dr. Timothy Kremchek in Cincinnati. So Surkamp could be auditioning Friday for a longer stay in the rotation. But Hahn will continue to factor prominently into the decision-making. He was optioned to Triple-A Nashville after a poor spring, but Melvin has reiterated since then that he considers Hahn an important part of the pitching staff.
Hahn is scheduled to make his season debut for Nashville on Friday, so he’ll be on the same turn as Surkamp. The A’s want to evaluate Hahn further once he’s out of the hitter-friendly conditions of Arizona.
“We’ll probably get a better indication of his sinker once he gets to Nashville and pitches in weather a little more conducive to pitching,” Melvin said.
Expect Sean Manaea, the A’s top pitching prospect, to emerge as a consideration for the big club soon, if more needs arise in the rotation. Manaea is coming off a minor groin injury at the end of camp, and the A’s would like the 24-year-old to get a bit more seasoning in the minors.
Right-hander Henderson Alvarez threw 25 pitches in a simulated game at the Coliseum, his first time facing hitters since he underwent shoulder surgery last July, while still with the Miami Marlins. Alvarez threw all of his pitches with Mark Canha and Andrew Lambo stepping in the box.
“He looked good,” Lambo said. “You gotta feel excited about that arm. I told some of the guys that that’s an arm you’ve (usually) gotta trade for at the deadline for a couple prospects.”
Alvarez will throw another simulated game Sunday with Single-A Stockton, since the A’s will be on the road in Seattle.
Alvarez, with A’s P.R. assistant Alex Arpiza translating, said the A’s have mentioned perhaps three simulated games before sending him out on a rehab assignment, but that’s not set in stone. Melvin said that late May remains his tentative estimate for getting Alvarez in the rotation.