OAKLAND — Eric Surkamp will get a return call to the A’s to start Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins, a move necessitated when Zach Neal was used in relief on Saturday.
Neal had started Wednesday against Seattle and gave up seven runs over four innings in his first career big league start. He then entered Saturday’s game in mop-up relief duty, meaning the A’s needed to make a decision on a Tuesday starter to take the turn vacated by Sonny Gray, who is on the 15-day disabled list.
In going with Surkamp, who has posted a 6.55 ERA in five starts with the big club while shuttling between the majors and minors, the A’s passed on promoting right-hander Daniel Mengden, their hottest pitcher with Triple-A Nashville right now.
Manager Bob Melvin did not elaborate on why Surkamp got the call, but said the team was comfortable using Neal out of the bullpen right now. Regarding Surkamp, Melvin added:
“We talk about pitching depth, and he’s definitely one of the guys we consider in that mix as far as starters go.”
Mengden, 23, sports a 4-0 record and 0.79 ERA in nine starts split between Double-A and Triple-A this season. But he’s still relatively inexperienced and hadn’t pitched above Single-A before this season. It could be that the A’s would prefer to wait until Mengden can be brought up on a more long-term basis, similar to the decision they made with Sean Manaea.
Melvin said Gray (strained trapezius) came out of Saturday’s bullpen session feeling good and the plan remains for him to get on the mound again Tuesday.