OAKLAND – Newly acquired lefty Felix Doubront is expected to arrive Saturday, and the A’s see him as a potential factor in the starting rotation.
Acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday for cash, the 27-year-old Doubront has predominantly been starting this year, whether in the majors or Triple-A. Given the A’s rotation is in a state of flux right now due to injuries and the trade of Scott Kazmir, Doubront provides some needed insurance.
A’s manager Bob Melvin expects Doubront to arrive in Oakland on Saturday, but it’s unclear if he’ll be added to the 25-man roster that day.
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“Our starting pitching depth has been cut back, and you always want to have five, six, seven guys that you can rely on to start,” Melvin said. “Where he fits and what we’re gonna do with him, we’ll probably know more in the coming days.”
Figure the A’s want to get another look at Kendall Graveman, who starts tonight against Cleveland but has struggled recently, as well as newcomer Aaron Brooks, who was acquired in the Ben Zobrist trade and will make his Oakland debut Saturday. Jesse Chavez also has shown signs of vulnerability as the season has wore on. If the A’s decide to stick with their current five starters, Doubront can slide into the bullpen.
He won 11 games in both 2012 and 2013 for Boston, winning a World Series ring with the Sox in ’13. Doubront’s velocity on his fastball has declined in recent seasons, however. He was traded to the Cubs at last year’s deadline but was released this spring before catching on with the Jays. He made four starts with Toronto and pitched in relief once, posting a 1-1 record and 4.76 ERA, and has spent the rest of this season in the minors.
While Doubront was added to the pitching mix, the A’s cut ties with reliever Ryan Cook, trading him to Boston for a player to be named later or cash. Cook broke out with an All-Star campaign as a rookie in 2012 and was a key contributor in a bullpen that helped the A’s to back-to-back AL West titles. But last season he began struggling with command issues, and he struggled this spring and began the year with Triple-A Nashville, looking to iron out some mechanical issues.
Except for a brief call-up, he’s remained at Triple-A as the A’s have continued to search for answers and consistency in their big league bullpen.
Melvin texted with Cook on Friday to wish him the best, and he spoke highly of the hard-throwing righty.
“He’s been paramount to the success we’ve had here the last three years,” Melvin said. “Sometimes when you get sent down, you can get a little bogged down with your confidence and your motivation. Sometimes just a change of scenery and a new organization can really invigorate you. I think that will be the case with him.”
Brooks joined the A’s Friday, but he won’t be activated until Saturday after coming over from the Royals in the Zobrist deal. The 25-year-old has made four appearances in the majors but has spent the bulk of this season starting at Triple-A, going 6-5 with a 3.71 ERA. He realizes the opportunity before him, getting a chance to start for a team that is turning its attention toward young players moving forward.
He welcomes that chance, after three of his four big league games came in relief.
“With the Royals, they seemingly used me a little different than what I’m already seeing now (with the A’s),” he said. “For me, that’s a huge confidence boost.”
The Southern California native expects a large contingent of family and friends to make the trip north for Saturday’s game.
Melvin said outfielder Coco Crisp will play two more games for Single-A Stockton, then be evaluated in Oakland on Sunday.