MESA, Ariz. — The A’s sent Jesse Hahn to the minors Tuesday, but manager Bob Melvin said he expects to see the right-hander back before long.
“I’d be shocked if he isn’t back, and in our estimation hopefully really soon,” Melvin said. “At this point in time, he knows he needs to get the ball down. He was great about it. If we’re going to have the type of year we envision having, he’s gonna have to be a part of it. Right now he just needs to iron some things out.”
With Hahn’s demotion after a shaky spring, Melvin confirmed that left-hander Felix Doubront would be the fifth starter. Doubront threw an extended outing in a minor league game Tuesday. He’ll pitch in Saturday’s exhibition finale against the Giants at the Coliseum, then prepare for his first regular season start April 8 at Seattle.
He’ll follow Sonny Gray, Rich Hill, Chris Bassitt and Kendall Graveman, and he gives the A’s a second lefty in the rotation along with Hill.
“He helped us in a number of roles last year,” Melvin said. “Guys like that, they wanna be able to start. He’s excited about it, as excited as he gets. And we have confidence in him.”
Doubront’s insertion into the rotation means that Ryan Dull is all but assured the seventh and final spot in the bullpen, though Melvin wasn’t confirming any concrete plans with his relief corps.
Gray echoed Melvin’s comments that he expects Hahn to return to the big club soon.
“I talked to Jesse a little bit this morning, he was in good spirits,” Gray said. “I truly think for us to get where we want to go he’s gonna need to be a big part of it.”
FAMILIAR FACE: Gray gave up two long home runs in his final spring tuneup Tuesday in a 9-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs. One of them was to Kyle Schwarber on his first batter of the game. The other was a long blast just to the right of center by former A’s top prospect Addison Russell.
Gray, who was in spring camp with Russell in 2014, said he chatted with Russell briefly as both were leaving the field together.
“He’s a good guy.”
But Gray didn’t have much history with Russell as an opposing hitter. He came away impressed Tuesday.
“I faced him twice,” he said. “I threw him a fastball middle, to middle-in, and he hit them to right-center.”
Gray went five innings and allowed three runs on eight hits, but he came away satisfied that he’s ready for his Opening Night assignment Monday against the Chicago White Sox.
HEALTH UPDATE: Center fielder Coco Crisp was scratched from the lineup with what Melvin described as mild hamstring tightness, adding that Crisp probably would have played had it been the regular season.